Every now and then a great tragedy rocks the media world, this time round it was the passing of emerging star Heath Ledger. Already established in the ‘chick-flick’ world with “10 Things I Hate About You“, a loose Shakespearean adaptation, and a well known face on Australian TV, Ledger was soon to become even bigger. A acting great was in the making.
Years passing have seen well known stars such as Bruce Lee, his son Brandon Lee, River Phoenix and now Ledger suffer the ultimate fate before the release (even during filming) of the movie that will catapult them into super stardom, bring their faces to movie screens in every country in the world and cement their name on the “Next up for an Oscar” list.
Unfortunately, during the Post Production stages of “The Dark Knight” next in the Batman legacy, Ledger was found dead of an alleged accidental overdose of prescription drugs. After a couple of weeks of media banter of whether he was an addict or not, it was concluded accidental.
As this is Batman week, I chose the opportunity to write about Heath Ledger, in a cafe, on a late Tuesday afternoon, so don’t expect this to be “War and Peace”. I’m not embarrassed to say that the first film that alerted me to the future potential of Ledger was “10 Things I Hate About You”, one of Mrs. Sheppard’s favourites. Don’t get me wrong, his performance wasn’t exactly Oscar winning, but at the same time he’s no Prinze Jr. But for the first time the charismatic personality that will soon take the magazine world by storm was shown to the world.
Jump skip and a hop 6 years into the future appears one of my favourite movies, Lords of Dogtown in which Ledger plays an on the verge alcoholic surf shop owner. The film chronicles the cross over between the surf scene and a newly established skateboarding scene.
In the same year Ledger shot to fame in the incredibly controversial Brokeback Mountain, a story of the homosexual relationship between two ‘manly’ cow boys. The film reached international success winning a swagbag full of awards and nominated for twice as many.
More controversy hit in January 2008 when Ledger died in his apartment after the production of next in the batman series The Dark Knight. After two weeks of media backstabbing and rumours it was concluded that Ledger died because of an accidental overdose on a cocktail of prescription drugs.
Ledger’s acting career will take it’s last stint in the Terry Gilliam’s soon to be released The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Ledger was half way through the filming of this gem when he was found dead, however with the permission and cooperation of Ledger’s family, celebrity stand ins will film the rest of the ‘dream’ and ‘imaginary’ sequences.
I think the whole world can agree, Ledger was a rising star. Hopefully with the release of The Dark Knight his name will be secured as an acting great. We will be giving lectures about Ledger’s performances and media attention in years to come. Watch this space. I called it.