The Dark Knight is finally out now and, from all reports, it's a great film made even better by Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker. I've recently caught the trailer and I've gotta say, he looks terrifying to the point that this has gone from a maybe to a must see for me. Word is that he's being put up for a post-humous award for his acting in this, his final film. Good. He deserves it as it's becoming clearer every day that this film cost him his life exactly six months ago on January 22nd this year.
Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. I just couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.
We've all heard about the troubles in Heath's life leading up to his death from an overdose of sleeping pills, but did you know he wasn't exactly himself as he went through all this? In an effort to understand the character, Heath had started writing a diary in the twisted character of the Joker. As well as containing bits and pieces about the character, including a list of what he'd find funny (AIDS is listed somewhere near the top), it also contained the Joker's view of Heath's own life and the events he witnessed. All of which added up to a reportedly hypnotic, sympathetic and realistic performance as one of the most famous comic book villains ever.
It also lead to his death as the lifestyle collaborated with his own personal hardships, experienced mostly in character, to stop him from sleeping. Sleep deprivation is a well known form of torture, affecting you both physically and mentally, which caused the young actor to start taking sleeping pills whenever he was cast in a difficult role. Combined with a burgeoning depression and anxiety problem that was also being medicated "under the counter" and pills taken to ease pneumonia contracted during late night filming in the rain, the man had more medication going into him each day than any rockstar.
It destroyed him, and cost the world a fine actor and, by many accounts, a hell of a nice guy. He'll be missed by many. And that's no joke.