Legendary Hollywood star James Byron Dead once famously said, “Dream as if you will live forever. Live as if you’ll die today!” The quote has, over the course of several years, resonated with one and all in terms of being the ideal way to lead a life of great purpose, meaning, and fulfillment.
And Jimmy Dean was right! Though he himself lived ever too briefly, going at the desperately sad age of 24- no age to die- he did three movies, all of which became enchanting hits of their time. And in so doing, Dean left an indelible mark on the canvass of movies.
The young Australia-born Hollywood actor wasn’t even 30 when he Od-ed in the USA, denting a glorious career that was growing with grief and a sudden blow. Ledger had, only recently, starred in the most tumultuous and pathbreaking role, a role of a lifetime, as we call it!
To this day, we recollect the maddening burst of energy and the frantic talent of Heath Ledger’s Joker in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight.
The film and Joker’s role will go down in history as one of the finest renditions of an actor playing a down and out evil incarnate with profound mastery.
In fact, let’s put it this way- there may not have been a better choice for Nolan other than having the handsome and raw Heath Ledger appear as the ghastly and goosebumpish Joker!
But what if you were told that the role of the Joker wasn’t originally offered to Heath Ledger and that, he was required play some other part?
Actually, none of us would be able to imagine Heath Ledger in any other pat other than that of the negative Joker!
But well, in theory, there was something else planned for the long locked actor.
Truth be told, Heath was offered the role of the Batman- you are reading this correctly- and that too in the first instalment of Christopher Nolan-directed Dark Knight series: Batman Begins.
A recent media report captured a telling excerpt from the celebrated director’s interaction with a Hollywood journal and quoted:
Speaking at the Lincoln Film Centre in New York, Nolan said in 2012, “He was quite gracious about it, but he said, ‘I would never take a part in a super hero film’.” The role eventually went to Christian Bale, and having observed Nolan’s take on comic book films, Ledger reconsidered and signed on to play Joker in The Dark Knight. “I explained to him what I wanted to do with Batman Begins and I think maybe he felt I achieved it,” Nolan said.
And that’s not all.
Christopher Nolan etched some captivating details and insights about Ledger’s part as the Joker and shared, “We cast him even before the script was written. So he had a very long time to obsess about it, think about what he was going to do, to really figure it out. He didn’t like to work too much. He liked to do a character and then stop working and let enough time go by until he was hungry for it again. And that’s what happened when he came in; he was really ready to do something like that.”