Facing the Truth About Ledger
On September first, Netflix was adding some new films and series to their website. Finally some new stuff binge watch for day while not at school. I went to look on the list see if anything would be intriguing to watch. Most of it was old television series and films form past generations. Yet I was able to find one that appealed to me; Lords of Dogtown. A film about three best friends who went on to revolutionize skateboarding in the 1970s. While it mainly based on those three characters, one minor peaked out by the performance of Heath Ledger. Ledger portrayed Skip Engblom, a “skater” who owns the local boarding shop in Venice, CA who tries to keep the group on his side even though he does not give any profit to them. Skip would later lose ownership of the shop and the respect of his pupils. Through out the scenes featuring Ledger, it made me recall on all his past films and how talented of an actor he was and could have been.
I remember it like it was yesterday; I was 12 years old when news came out that Heath Ledger died in a hotel room due to a drug intoxication. The autopsy said it to be the cause of an accidental overdose. My parents said it was bullshit, that it was no accident. I didn’t believe them. Just watching him act in Brokeback Mountain and Monster’s Ball, earning high praise for his renditions, you would think he knew at some point he would be at the top of Hollywood stars. I just couldn’t see a man of his talents would give up his life so easily, especially when he is a father to a baby girl.
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As time went on, documentaries on television and videos on YouTube.com told the story of the final days of the late actors life. Family members close to ledger say he was constantly being followed by paparazzi around his home country of Australia and even worse when he works in America. During an interview, Ledger explained how he would take a huge amount of pills some nights. Even without referring to it, I heard the obvious that he was attempting suicide (there was a certain video I watched a year ago in which Ledger explains his use of the prescription pills , but I am unable to find it. My apologies).
During my junior year of high school, my history teacher gave us a project to create a movie script of a historical event. I pitched the idea to my partner of a love story during the Holocaust. Ledger would play the leading role as a Nazi soldier who is in love with a Jewish lady. They would be torn apart due to the the concentration camp. Yet Ledger character will save his love and run away from the camp and live happily ever after. I later explained to my history teacher that “this is my image of Ledger best role if he were to be alive today.”
Ledger’s last film in was in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Every once in a while I’ll debat whether to watch or not. The movie to me, while it’s still a great film, just bores me to death with the slow story telling. Most of the time I just skip foward to all of the Joker scenes. He took control of the film when was on screen. You didn’t see him as Ledger, you saw him a the Joker, a terrifying man who will kill you for a laugh.
Some people seem to believe Ledger died by being so into the Joker character, that it made him insane. I understand method acting is becoming a bigger deal now, but look at Leonardo Dicaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis. Dicaprio was said to have not go out of character during the role of Jordan Belfort. Day-Lewis never left the wheel chair in My Left Foot. They’re still alive and well. They do the same type of acting and don’t go crazy after filming. So I find it not truly possible that Ledger just went insane after the The Dark Knight.
A few months ago it was reported that Ledger was speaking to Bennett Miller about acting in his latest film, Foxcatcher, before his untimely death. The was later given to Channing Tatum, who is now recieveing the best reviews of his career thus far. I can only imagine how it would been done if it were Ledger instead of Tatum.
Could Ledger have been in more amazing films? Who truly knows, but we will always remember him for his critically-acclaimed acting roles, his smile, and always being so serious.