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A Peek at Heath Ledger's Joker Diary


Special features about Heath Ledger's creation of his interpretation of the Joker have been lacking. Beyond a few interviews, such as the sitdown Christopher Nolan attended at the Film Society of Lincoln Center last year, there just isn't a depth of material. All that could be gathered from Ledger's process was when Nolan opened up about Ledger and his performance moreso than he did during the promtional rounds for The Dark Knight:

"...we would film hair and makeup tests and try different looks, and in that, he'd start to move, and we'd have these rubber knives and he'd choose what weapon and explore the movement of the character. We weren't recording sound, so he felt quite able to start talking and showing some of what he was going to do. And in that way he sort of sneaked up on the character."

Courtesy of Reddit and The Film Stage, there is now new footage of a diary Ledger kept during production of The Dark Knight.

Inside the Joker diary features panels from older Batman comics (The Killing Joke), the monologue from the hospital scene with Aaron Eckhart, pictures of Malcolm McDowell as Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange and other clippings of black and white photos of clowns.

Below are a few quotes from Ledger's father, Kim, who spoke briefly about the diary itself:

"This is the Joker’s diary. In order to inhabit his character, he locked himself up in a hotel room for weeks. He would do that. He liked to dive into his characters, but this time he really took it up a notch."

"The hospital scene is interesting because when he was a kid, his sister Kate liked to dress him up as a nurse. He was really funny like that. He also was in the movie. This is a make-up test which was done eight months before. Before the end of the shooting he wrote ‘bye bye’ on the back of the page. It was hard to see this."

A chilling last image to leave us with, but ultimately, I feel thankful for another chance to see the depth and appreciation Heath Ledger had for his art.

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