Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger's Death and The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger was found dead only a few hours ago, and almost immediately people started hitting the message boards asking how it would affect The Dark Knight's summer release.

That seems wildly selfish, but I have to admit that it was the first thought that crossed my mind as well. I assume his contribution to the film is complete, and I wasn't expecting much from the movie anyway (since I was not impressed with Batman Begins), but I think his tragic death adds a new layer of meaning to the film.

It will be interesting to see how things play out when the movie's released, but I can imagine that his performance will take on an added resonance, much like Brandon Lee's performance seemed enhanced in The Crow by the contextual knowledge of his death. And, obviously, Heath Ledger was a far more highly regarded actor than Brandon Lee ever was.

Celebrity deaths are always bizarre, because it makes you feel like you lost someone you knew. But we didn't know this guy. We just saw him flicker on the screen a few times. What makes him anything other than a stranger? Celebrity is a weird thing.


Marc Caputo said...

It all just makes me realize how ultimately fragile most of these (entertainment, including music) people are. I remember hitting a point some years back when I stopped saying, "If I were an actor/musician/whatever, I wouldn't be like that" and realizing that I could never be an actor/musician/whatever, BECAUSE I'm not like that.

I feel bad for his family, especially his daughter. I'll wait to see what picture the next few days paints before I weigh in one way or another, but it's looking like NOT an accident.

andy khouri said...

We spoke to someone involved with the film who seemed as though they'd just been crying. Obviously, there's the loss of Ledger himself -- everyone involved that I've spoken to had nothing but hugely positive things to say about him and his career-redefining performance in the film.

But there's also the personal/"selfish" loss felt by everyone involved in other aspects of the film. Anticipation for The Dark Knight is stronger than that for any other comics-related film I've ever witnessed. Thanks to the brilliant work of everyone on the Alternate Reality Game, the graphic designers, editors, marketers, and of course the actors and filmmakers themselves, we were seeing people (including tons of women) SO excited to see this movie. Everyone felt a part of it; they were having fun and not being bullshitted to by the Big Studio Franchise. These people were working harder on this than anything else in their lives. All the passion these people have put into the film is now... god, who knows what? I can't even imagine how they must feel.

The saddest part of this is of course Ledger's daughter. Thankfully, she's still very young, and probably unable to grasp the weight of this situation.

Molly said...

I'm sad about this, of course primarily for his family, but also in a selfish way. He was a talented actor and I think he would have contributed great things in the future. Or maybe not, it's impossible to know now. But I think he would have added good things to film. Just a very sad and bizarre situation.
And fucking Lindsay Lohan is still alive! Okay, not that I want her to die. But I keep thinking of all these people in the public eye who are contributing nothing creatively and yet they're still around. Yeah, that's a pretty selfish insensitive thought, so I guess I'm gonna just stop there.

marcwrz said...

Of course everyone who has been geeked out by The Dark Knight Trailers thought it.

So did everyone at Warner Bros.

The very concept of celebrity is that "everyone knows you" and when you have a guy who wasn't renowned for his hard-partying or drug-use but in fact was a damned good actor who hadn't even hit 30 and from the general consensus of New Yorkers who lived near him and all his coworkers, a flat out decent guy...it is sad.

Hell the gossip sites that usually make fun of stuff like this have all been pretty respectful. As a fan of his work and someone who loves and appreciates film, its sad to see that a truly promising actor will never get to exceed his current work.

And he was a young father, people will be sympathetic.

And I'll say this, The Dark Knight is going to be viewed a hell of a lot differently now, that's for sure.