wonderful short article
My fearless Heath Candy producer Emile Sherman's exclusive review of The Dark Knight
Walking into the theatre to see The Dark Knight, I felt so sad, fearful of being reminded of a life cut short so randomly. It's a tragedy not to have Heath Ledger any more. He was a wonderful actor, father and most of all a sensitive human being and a good guy.
But a joy crept in as I watched the film, to be able to see Heath again in the flesh, albeit a celluloid flesh, and to be mesmerised by not only his profound acting ability but also to enjoy the small movements of his face and his body. I realised how fortunate we are to have a part of Heath captured forever, in his many guises, on film.
Heath's Joker will surely go down as one of the great villain performances. Its not just the voice, the flick of the tongue or the makeup which in the hands of a lesser actor carried the risk of being far from convincing it's that there is no trace of empathy, of humanity, left in those eyes.
But what I love about Heath, in all his performances, is the way he put his body to use. He once lectured me on the virtues of the Alexander Technique and how it changed his life, giving him control over his body and freeing it from history and custom. Whilst other actors, particularly movie stars, focus on their face, Heath inhabited his characters with his entire body. The Joker has a looseness, a casualness that Heath seemed to prefer to the more classic rigidness of the stereotypical strong man. Combined with his command of his face and the messiness of the makeup, it all adds up to a Joker as the "villain of chaos", and chaos as pleasure.
I'd worked with Heath Ledger on the film Candy, an Australian film about two junkies (played by Heath and Abbie Cornish), hopelessly in love with each other and with heroin. Candy was the last in a gruelling schedule of films that Heath had shot back to back.
He was tired when he arrived in Sydney for the two-month stint but with what strength he had left he worked to find within himself the character of Dan, a young man caught in a spiral of addiction with only his love for his girlfriend Candy and an endearing optimism to keep him sane. It was clear from the first days rushes that the audience was not going to be able to take its eyes off Heath.
I only had a peripheral friendship with Heath. After Candy, when he was back in New York, we'd share some late-night calls whilst our babies were awake at night, discussing birthing techniques and fatherhood. Heath truly understood the miracle and felt every part of it intensely.
It is this intensity and emotional, artistic sensitivity to the world that remains my ongoing remembrance of Heath. I cannot imagine what it would have been like for him to create the character of the Joker, a man who lives by no rules or ethos except to undo. To find that within oneself is beyond most of us. I imagine it takes a rare fearlessness in facing the truth, which is the way Heath approached himself as well as the world at large.