#1. Heath Wanted to be Batman
Doesn’t everyone, though? You can’t blame the guy for trying. When it came time to audition for the movie Heath wanted the role of Batman. Personally, I couldn’t even imagine it; it just seems so out of sorts. Apparently, the producers thought the same thing because although they let him audition they told him they weren’t going to go with him. Christian Bale ended up getting the role of Batman, and the rest is history. It wasn’t until later on that they decided he would be good for the role of The Joker. It turned out they were right because it won him an Oscar in the end. It wouldn’t be the first time that an actor went in for one role and came out with another. Jennifer Aniston wanted the role of Monica when she auditioned and how weird would that have been?
#2. Heath’s Joker Terrified Michael Caine
Michael Caine has been around for many of the Batman movies, and he’s been a staple of the franchise. He had never seen anything like Heath’s version of The Joker however, and it scared him. Many believed that Jack Nicholson was the best Joker out there, but Caine admitted that there was a clear difference between the two. Jack’s character had a sense of humor, and his makeup was almost clown-like whereas the portrayal that Heath offered the world was one of a true psychopath. The first time that Michael Caine saw Heath in full makeup was during the elevator scene. He seemed like such a terrifying psychopath that Michael forgot his lines. Maggie Gyllenhaal who played Batman’s love interest couldn’t even look at Heath when he came in the room. He scared them both so badly that he proved that he could truly portray a psychopath
#3. First Actor to Win an Oscar for Playing a Villain
It’s pretty well-known in the film industry that if you are vying for an Oscar, then you should probably avoid making superhero movies. It’s just not something that the Academy looks at when they want to honor an actor for a brilliant acting performances. So it was surprising when the exception was made for Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker. During the 81st Academy Awards, The Dark Night was nominated for eight Academy Awards. Heath won the Best Supporting Actor role for his part in the movie. He was the first and only win in any of the categories for a movie like The Dark Night. He was the first person to win an Oscar in that category after he died. The award went home with his longtime girlfriend, Michelle Williams. Peter Finch also won an award in 1976 after his death for his performance in a movie.
#4. He Locked Himself Up
Heath went to great lengths to truly become The Joker so that he could be authentic to the character. He was determined to truly be The Joker and stay in character during filming so that he could portray who The Joker really was – an isolated and crazy person. Before filming started, Heath locked himself in a motel for a whopping 43 days to help himself get into character. He wanted to completely isolate himself from the world and his family as well so that he would know what it was like to feel truly alone. He was so isolated in fact during filming that it started to affect his relationship with Michelle Williams. The isolation helped him to perfect the craziness that was inside the mind of The Joker. What you saw on screen was the result of all the crazy things Heath was willing to do to become The Joker.
#5. Clockwork Orange
The 1971 classic movie Clockwork Orange was a huge inspiration for Heath when he was researching his portrayal of the Joker. The movie is known to be a little crazy and it’s not surprising since Kubrick directed it but it’s been a favorite of many for years to come. The Joker in The Dark Night had a lot of weird mannerism, and a lot of them made the character of The Joker seem so much more authentic. It was the mannerism that you would expect from a crazy person. Heath researched Alex De Large, the main character in Clockwork Orange and that was where he derived his inspiration from for The Joker. Alex De Large was played by Malcolm McDowell, and his portrayal of the character was astounding at that time. Heath went to great lengths to make sure his version of The Joker was truly original, and he did a pretty amazing job of it.
#6. He Wanted Christian Bale to Beat Him
Like I said before, Heath liked to go to the extreme when it came time to prepare for his role. There is a scene in The Dark Knight where Batman is interrogating The Joker. The scene included a brutal beating that looked very real. The reason for this is because it was real. Heath didn’t want to act out the scene, in fact, he wanted it to look as real as possible. He told Christian Bale to actually beat him and to do it as hard as possible so that it would look authentic in the movie. The scene you see is Heath getting a true beating from Batman, and it looks pretty bad. It makes you wonder how badly he must have been marked up for the rest of the scenes. Thank God for all the makeup he had to wear.