Heath Ledger’s iconic portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight is widely considered a masterpiece of acting. His performance is still universally praised to date and considered one of the greatest villain portrayals in cinema history.

The actor even won a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role. Ledger was known for his method acting, where actors fully immerse themselves in the character’s psyche.

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

However, rumors have persisted about his intense method acting techniques during filming, with some reports stating he remained in character off-set. Recently, his co-star Eric Roberts offered a more heartwarming perspective on the working relationship with the late star on set.

A Co-Star Talked Abou Heath Ledger’s Method Acting Persona

Eric Roberts as Sal Maroni
Eric Roberts as Sal Maroni in The Dark Knight

Eric Roberts, who played Sal Maroni in The Dark Knight, recently shared his experience working with Heath Ledger. “I had been told,” the 68-year-old revealed in an interview with Still Here Hollywood podcast, “‘Stay away from him…he’s into the character…he’s gone [off the deep end].'” However, Roberts painted a completely different picture, saying:

“It wasn’t like that at all…He [Ledger] was just so charming, likable, so sweet…all the stuff I had heard about him was not true.”

This anecdote shows how method acting can be quite intricate. Some actors, such as Robert De Niro, are known for really getting into their characters. For example, to play a cab driver in Taxi Driver, he got a cab license and drove a taxi in New York City.

Also read: “My references had to be real”: Heath Ledger’s Joker Took Inspiration from a Real-Life ‘Glasgow Smile’ That’s Made of Nightmares

But sometimes, this approach (method acting) can be misunderstood, as was the case with the Aussie star. Nonetheless, Roberts’ experience reminds us that fully committing to a role doesn’t mean isolating oneself or being negative. Despite rumors of Ledger staying in character off-set and causing distress to cast members, there’s no solid evidence to support these claims.

Heath Ledger’s Dedication to His Role in The Dark Knight

A still from The Dark Knight
A still from The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is legendary and will always be remembered. Eric Roberts’ recent comments give us a new way to think about Ledger’s dedication, reminding us that greatness doesn’t always need exaggerated tales.

According to MensXP —  to prepare for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight — the Candy actor spent six weeks in seclusion in a hotel room, focusing on the character’s mannerisms and voice. He kept a diary filled with thoughts and experiments on the Joker’s mindset and practiced the character’s laugh for long periods.

Ledger’s process involved thorough research, creating a distinct voice, and delving into the character’s psychology. Even director Christopher Nolan admired the actor’s dedication and collaborative attitude during filming (via Variety).

Also Read: “That’s much more powerful”: ‘Oppenheimer’ Author Defends Christopher Nolan From Critics Over 1 Controversial Aspect of the Film

Watch The Dark Knight on Prime Video.

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