The diary Heath Ledger kept while preparing to play The Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight is revealed in a new documentary.
The late actor described his take on the iconic comic book villain as a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy”. His commitment to the role, for which he won a posthumous Oscar, has become legendary.
“He pretty well locked himself up in a hotel… for a month or so, to sort of galvanise the upcoming character in his own mind,” the actor’s father, Kim Ledger, recalls in the documentary, an episode of German series Too Young To Die. “That was typical of Heath on any movie. He would certainly immerse himself in the upcoming character. I think this was just a whole new level.”
The diary features stills from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, which was an influence on the actor’s performance, as well as joker playing cards, pictures of hyenas and clowns, torn-out sections from old Batman comics and handwritten excerpts of dialogue from the film. Watch a clip from the documentary featuring Ledger’s diary and his father Kim below.