Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger, 'Dark Knight's' Joker, dies unexpectedly

There was bad news tonight when it was reported that Heath Ledger, the Oscar-nominated actor who will be playing the Joker in the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight, was found dead in a New York City apartment.

Making it especially sad was his young age — he was only 28 — and the family he's left behind, including a 2-year-old daughter. At the moment there hasn't been any cause of death given, but pills were allegedly found near Ledger so there has of course been speculation that he committed suicide. It's still early in this sad event, so there are a lot of theories and stupidity flying around; someone on CNN just commented that Ledger had said playing the role of the Joker "really got into his head, and he was having trouble letting it go," and needed Ambien to go to sleep — apparently making a half-assed attempt at connecting it to his death. We'll have to wait and see how the whole thing washes out.

In spite of his youth, Ledger had plenty to brag about: He was nominated for an Academy Award for his work in Brokeback Mountain, and was also known for his roles in popular popcorn movies like 10 Things I Hate About You, The Patriot and A Knight's Tale (one of my mom's favorite movies).

Like a lot of people, I was a little surprised when Ledger was announced as the Joker for The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins. I thought there was no way this pretty boy could pull it off. But as more news and movie stills started coming out I started to think he might not only be able to pull it off, but he could actually be a great Joker. I reached a point where I was excited to see Dark Knight, and especially Ledger's Joker.

I'll still be looking forward to seeing it, but it will be sad to think that the movie was the actor's last. I think when I see The Dark Knight, I'll be rooting for the bad guy.


Kyle said...

You know what else is sad? For the first few hours after they announced his death, AP called the Batman sequel "The Dark Night." I'm certainly no comic snob, but c'mon, you'd expect the New York AP reporter to have a little bit of a pop-culture background. It's called the lexicon, Tiny.

And in other news, your mom has great taste. I love that movie. I love a gambling, drunken Chaucer.

Maxo said...

Ugh. That rush to be first instead of being right was one of the things that started to sour me on the industry. And like you said, you don't have to be a comic snob to catch it; Lopez made the comparison to Superman, saying people know Batman is the Dark Knight the same way they know Superman is the Man of Steel. No one would call him the Man of Steal.

(Though, holy crap, I'd totally read that! Copyright, copyright!)

Either way, I'd think a movie title would be the sort of thing a reporter would automatically double-check, just like the title of a book, CD or event. It's 101, man. Of course, reckless speculation seems to be the norm nowadays (just look at how Ledger's death was being reported when the news broke), so I wonder if any of the basic news standards are even being taught anymore.

And now that I've worn out my soapbox: I almost made a mom joke on MY OWN MOM! You win this round, Kyle!