Written By: Grave Reviews Staff
2. Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (2008)
Of all the actors and actresses, the biggest surprise was when Heath Ledger played the iconic villain, The Joker, in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film, The Dark Knight. Arguably, many people may argue that Jack Nicholson was the original Joker and may have played a more comic-book version. However, what made Ledger’s version of The Joker so engaging is his psychedelic, uncomfortable style seen throughout the film. The way Ledger spoke and acted drew you deeper into the demented mind of The Joker. Arguably, Ledger created a version of The Joker that far surpassed the imagination of many. His deeply disturbed, insane perception of The Joker will forever be remembered as one of the best cinematic acts.
Born in Australia, Heath Ledger began his career acting in various films and television in his native Country. In 1998, he left for the United States where his career flourished. He was able to obtain acting roles in a wide variety of films such as 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), The Patriot (2000), Lords of Dogtown (2005) as well as several others. The most surprising move was when Ledger was cast for the role as The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008). The reason was that up to this point, he was seen as a heart-throb, cute, romantic kind of actor. For that reason, no one expected him to be able to transform himself into the dark and crazed mind of The Joker. However, for the reasons stated above, his performance stunned every critic’s perception. This role arguably placed him at the top of his career.
From as early as November 2007, Ledger was experiencing sleep issues and insomnia. He had expressed his concerns to co-stars, interviewers during that time. On January 22, 2008, he was found unconscious by his masseuse in his New York City apartment. On that same day, Ledger was pronounced dead. He was 28 years old. A subsequent toxicology report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York stated that the death was accidental and due to a mixing of various prescription drugs.