Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Heath Ledger tried to sabotage 'The Dark Knight'?

There is a whole lot of WTF? in this story, but it's too bizarre not to share. There has been some speculation that Heath Ledger attempted to play the Joker character as over the top and silly in order to get fired from the project. Ledger's contract stated that he would earn a pretty big salary for The Dark Knight, even if he got fired. WorstPreviews (via The Movie Blog) got this from Vanity Fair:

According to Ledger's agent Steven Alexander and cinematographer/friend Nicola Pecorini, the actor had a pay-or-play deal on "Knight," which means that he would be compensated no matter how terrible he ends up being. This gave Ledger the freedom to do what he wanted with The Joker.

But the real decision to take the role was because of the film's unusually long shoot, which would give Ledger an excuse to turn down other offers. And since he was guaranteed to collect a paycheck, Ledger was hoping that his performance would be so "far-out" that he would end up being fired and become the beneficiary of a lengthy, paid vacation.

His agent added that while Ledger wanted to get paid, he didn't want to be part of the massive blockbuster that "The Dark Knight" turned out to be. "[Ledger] was always hesitant to be in a summer blockbuster, with the dolls and action figures and everything else that comes with one of those movies," Alexander explained. "He was afraid it would define him and limit his choices."

Huh? All those widespread reports about Ledger locking himself in a hotel room for weeks to work on the Joker make this all sound like total crap. Why would Ledger work so hard on the Joker if he wanted to present a ridiculous performance? Maybe Vanity Fair misinterpreted what Ledger's agent meant - the direct quote only hints at Heath Ledger having doubts about being in a summer blockbuster. Either way, this whole story is just weird.

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