Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Heath Ledger Dies
Cynicism is easy. Many will say, and have already begun saying, it's just the life of another rich, spoiled drug addict. To mourn him is tantamount to mourning any other "crackhead," the nameless, faceless nobodies who line the morgues all over the world. Those cases of overdose usually elicit only derision, why should this guy be any different?
Truth is, had Ledger not been cast as the Joker in the Dark Knight I probably wouldn't mention him; he would be another name to add to Hollywood's Greatest Misses; John Belushi, River Phoenix, Chris Farley, etc. There's even a chance I'd echo the thoughts above, Lord knows I've been critical of the mess Britney Spears has made of her life. However, I am a comic book fan and I have seen the Dark Knight trailer and like most was bowled over by Ledger's take on comic books' greatest villain.
I suppose what separates Ledger from the nameless overdoses is talent and potential, Ledger had both and with them he had succeeded. He was a father, which adds greatly to the tragedy; I cannot fathom losing a lifetime with my children. And unlike Spears, this was not a life marked with catastrophe, at least not in the public square.
I wonder how this will affect the movie. I suspect it will be a far more chilling and somber experience, not unlike Brandon Lee's final performance in "The Crow." Almost certainly this will increase the film's revenue, it's all a part of humanity's darker side. People will want to see someone's last act on the screen.
How will it feel seeing those action figures in the stores, the pictures on the merchandising? There's a part of me that's ashamed that I'm glad they finished filming before he died. At least Ledger will have this one finished piece, I hope it's as good as it seems. Either way, watching Ledger parade across the screen adorned in ghostly white face paint will be unsettling.
May his family and his soul find peace in God.