Australian actor Heath Ledger left behind a legacy like no other. Within the short span of his career, he managed to charm millions of people worldwide with his performance in movies like Brokeback Mountain, 10 Things I Hate About You, and The Dark Knight. 

Heath Ledger was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Brokeback Mountain. His portrayal of the popular DC villain Joker in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 movie The Dark Knight also won him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Nolan once revealed a fascinating detail about how Ledger’s look for the movie came about.

Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger

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Heath Ledger Wanted To Get The Perfect Look For Joker

Heath Ledger gained worldwide recognition for his performance as Joker. Although his casting was met with some resistance from some people in the entertainment industry, Christopher Nolan did not back down as his ideas for the portrayal of the character were similar to Ledger’s.

Heath Ledger as Joker
Heath Ledger as Joker

The Candy actor isolated himself from the rest of the world in a hotel room for a whole month just to acquaint himself with all the comic books that were related to Joker. He even worked on the character’s distinct voice. Years after the release of the movie, Nolan revealed that even the makeup Ledger had on was put on by himself.

In an interview on Warner Bros. YouTube, the Oppenheimer director said:

“One thing Heath wanted to do was to apply makeup himself. As an actor, he said, ‘Ok, this character would put his own makeup on in real life, so what would that look like if I just got the makeup. The thing that stuck from that was that he always had makeup on his fingers and under his fingernails, and everything else he would have was from putting it on just with his hands.”

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This revelation only adds to the already-established fact that Heath Ledger was immensely dedicated to bringing his character to life and giving tough competition to Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Joker.

Heath Ledger Did Screen Tests Before The Actual Performance

Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger undoubtedly gave everything to the supervillain character. Not only did he make sure that he had the right voice and fighting style but also that the makeup he had put on would look well on the screens. Nolan revealed that Ledger did screen tests to test the makeup look he had created without any help.

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In the Warner Bros. interview, the Dunkirk director said:

“During the hair and makeup tests, we let him [Heath Ledger] perform. We let him talk, we let him walk around. We didn’t record any sound, but we let him inhabit the character and use it as a bit of a test … to just sort of do it and use it in front of a few people and start to feel what that would be and move around.”

It was only after this that Ledger started to pick up props like knives and such for everyone to see what the whole thing would materialize into. All of the actor’s hard work paid off as he not only received critical acclaim but also numerous awards.

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