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The Story Behind Heath Ledger ‘s Joker and The Actor’s Death

Heath Ledger

Over the years, we have had quite a few actors playing the role of The Joker from the DC comics. In fact, the casting for The Joker has changed just as many times as that of the casting for Batman. This has sparked a long and still ongoing debate as to who’s Joker is the best, with the most recent portrayal of Joaquin Phoenix being a strong contender, alongside Jack Nicholson, Mark Hammil, and obviously, Heath Ledger, arguably the best one of them all.

Here’s the story of how Ledger’s Joker came into existence and why everyone loves him.

Also Read: Joker 2 is all set to hit on the screen very soon!

Preparation For The Role 

At the time Heath Ledger was cast for the role, he had some mighty big shoes to fill, considering that the actors who played the character before him such as Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero were both still the names that came to mind when one thought of The Joker.

In order to ace the role, Ledger pushed himself to his limits, both mentally and physically. He took inspiration from the original comics, by studying mentally challenged characters from other movies, and even becoming involved with the make-up and costume choices for his character. Ledger even went so far as to isolate himself for a month in order to research the character he wanted to portray in his own space and pace. These extreme measures took a heavy toll on the actor’s health, whilst also deriving him from sleep more often than not.

What resulted was an absolutely breathtaking performance that won Ledger an Oscar and left such an impression that instead of Nicholson or Romero people now compare every new actor that plays The Joker to Heath Ledger instead.

Heath Ledger Death

The amount of work that Ledger put into portraying the best possible iteration of Batman’s greatest nemesis really took a toll on the actor’s health, most notably, it caused him severe insomnia, something from which the actor was apparently already suffering.

It was an accidental dose of prescription medicine for this issue which got Ledger in the end. He died before The Dark Knight Ever hit theatres, in what seems like one of the most tragic deaths in Hollywood’s history.

Some may argue that although the actor’s portrayal of The Joker was indeed quite extraordinary, his work might have received undue credit because his death just before the release of the movie sparked feelings of sympathy among the fans and critics alike.

Whatever the case may be, it is beyond doubt that Ledger’s Joker is and always will be one of the best. The ratings of The Dark Knight are just proof of that since the movie is the highest-rated superhero movie of all time and the only one to have a rating above 9 on IMDB.

Also Read: Absence of joker in suicide squad sequel: A favorable move or missed opportunity?

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