Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Heath Ledger I Swear

Tribeca asked me to write a piece on Heath Ledger's legacy in this week o' fevered Dark Knight anticipation. So, I did.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful piece. I still remember seeing "10 Things I Hate About You" and just wanting to see more of Heath. What a gifted man we all we're so lucky to enjoy.

Off-topic: who is the actress between Heath and Josh Brolin in the banner? It's driving me nuts!!!


ludivine sagnier (swimming pool, 8 women, water drops on burning rocks, peter pan, etcetera...)

Anonymous said...

that was lovely. :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent. It's difficult to make sense of a tragedy like this, but you've come close.

Anonymous said...

Who were some of the people who turned down the main roles in Brokeback Mountain?

adam k. said...

I'm pretty sure Heath, at least, was Lee's first choice. I read about how he saw him in Monster's Ball and thought, "that young man IS Ennis." Jake I dunno. But honestly I doubt they actually offered the roles to other people first, cause I can't think of anyone who would've been better (in either part). Plus it would probably have been highly publicized if someone big had turned it down.

I'm sure lots of stars saw the script, though, and that floating the idea around Hollywood prompted lots of "NO WAY"s.

Anonymous said...


Joaquin Phoenix
Matt Damon
Mark Wahlberg

STILL JUST RUMORS (but very likely):
Josh Hartnett
Colin Farrell

…Phoenix was the only one willing to do it at one point. But when Van Sant as director fell through he moved on.

But Heath & Jake are like… Humphrey & Ingrid or Leo & Kate; anyone else in the part(s) just feels profoundly wrong.

Anonymous said...

Oh Nathaniel,
That was… many things. A heartfelt tribute to an actor’s legacy. A nostalgic love letter to a classic film. A poetic recalling of a masterfully delivered performance.
And your timing couldn’t be better amongst the hyperbolic, premature exclamations that Ledger has “…delivered the best performance of his career” as The Joker. While I’m all for lauding Ledger’s work, even slightly discounting his creation of Ennis del Mar is simply erroneous.

Just think how he howled- first with gruff anger then childlike fear- while crouching down in that alleyway. It gets me every time.

Also, I’m not sure whether or not to get fully invested in the idea of AMPAS acknowledging Ledger’s final performance. It would hurt to see him recognized by critics, the HFPA, SAG, BAFTA, and then get a nasty slap on Oscar nod morning. My point here is not to prognosticate gold trophies but to acknowledge how the upcoming award season will be haunted by the absence of this late star; Dark Knight’s theatrical run will only be the beginning for us cinephiles/award junkies. Sure, a wheelbarrow full of all the prizes he SHOULD have won for “Brokeback” would be lovely. But for thousands (including myself), Heath already won the “Oscar of our Hearts” as Best Actor in 2005. That’s something special.
Thank you again Nathaniel for that evocative, deeply moving piece.

Chris Na Taraja said...

The gays may always remember him this way, but most of homophobic hollywood will try really hard to remember him in something else.

I have a feeling the Joker may be exactly what it's touted to be, the role of his life and death. this will probably be more powerful than anything else he's done, not only if the work is good, but becuase of his death. (think James Dean in REBEL, johnathan Larsons RENT)

Either it will be the role that defines him in the memory of all, or we will have to turn to "A Knights Tale", "The Brothers Grim", or "Casanova".

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, thank you for that beautiful tribute to an actor and a performance that will never be equaled, much less surpassed. I haven't seen The Dark Knight yet, but I plan to go see it, and I hope that it's every bit as good as they say it is. However good Heath is as the Joker, though, nothing will ever touch his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar.
Thanks again, Nathaniel, for writing such a touching piece. Melanie

Anonymous said...

To add to Adam's and Eric's comments: I heard that Diana Ossana had Heath Ledger in mind while she was working on the screenplay.