Let’s get one thing clear – Heath Ledger was the best Joker of all time. Everyone has heard about his commitment to this demanding role, giving a phenomenal performance in the end. But unfortunately, he never got to see the massive impact he had as he died six months before ‘The Dark Knight’ was released.
He took method acting to a whole new level to portray the role of the of the comic book villain, and he was so set on getting the perfect take he actually wanted his co-star Christian Bale to hit him during the interrogation scene in The Dark Knight.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, a new book called ‘100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’ by Joseph McCabe contains interviews Bale and Nolan from around the time of the film’s release, and he spoke with Ledger in November 2007 as well.
Bale said, “As you see in the movie, Batman starts beating the Joker and realises that this is not your ordinary foe. Because the more I beat him, the more he enjoys it. The more I’m giving him satisfaction. Heath was behaving in a very similar fashion.”
Since Ledger’s character had ‘a thirst for blood’, Bale said that while filming the interrogation scene, he started “egging him on”.
He said, “I was saying, ‘You know what? I really don’t need to actually hit you. It’s going to look just as good if I don’t’. And he’s going, ‘Go on. Go on. Go on…’ He was slamming himself around, and there were tiled walls inside of that set which were cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them. His commitment was total.”
Talking about what it was like working with the late actor, Bale said, “Our first scene was in an interrogation room together, and I saw that he’s a helluva actor who’s completely committed to it and totally gets the tone that Chris [Nolan] is trying to create with this.”
Bale also noted that Ledger completely embraced Nolan’s vision for the film — which was a darker drama, instead of just comic book “caricatures.”
He said, “We’re treating this as serious drama. You go into character and you stay in the character. I love that. I find that so ridiculous that I love it, and I take that very seriously. Heath was definitely embracing that. When he was in the makeup and the garb he was in character the whole time; and when he took it off he was absolutely fantastic company to be around.”
Later, Ledger was posthumously awarded the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the Joker, which was absolutely well deserved.