When critics claimed that Heath Ledger was too invested in his role as Gotham’s villain, they weren’t just saying it.
An old Christian Bale interview sheds light on Ledger’s now-legendary portrayal of the Joker in Christopher Nolan film The Dark Knight.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bale reminisces the “committed” performance from his on screen arch nemesis, revealing that the actor wanted to be hit for real in one of the 2008 film’s iconic moments: the interrogation scene.
The interview, conducted by Joseph McCabe the same year, is featured in the new book 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.
Bale remembered, “As you see in the movie, Batman starts beating the Joker and realises that this is not your ordinary foe. Because the more I beat him the more he enjoys it. The more I’m giving him satisfaction.”
The Oscar-winning actor continued, “Heath was behaving in a very similar fashion. He was kinda egging me on. I was saying, ‘You know what, I really don’t need to actually hit you. It’s going to look just as good if I don’t.’ And he’s going, ‘Go on. Go on. Go on.’ He was slamming himself around, and there were tiled walls inside of that set which were cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them,” His commitment was total.”
Ledger died ahead of the film’s release in 2008 and went on to win a posthumous Oscar for the role a year later. While much has been reported over the years about how Ledger’s loyalty to the role altered his mental health before his death, his family dismissed such claims earlier.
The Dark Knight was preceded by Batman Begins (2005) and followed by trilogy-closer The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.The Dunkirk film-maker Nolan directed both. Bale revealed that he’s not a fan of his own performance in the trilogy admitting that he feels he “didn’t quite nail it.”
Joaquin Phoenix has taken on the role of the Joker for a new film from The Hangover director Todd Phillips, simply titled Joker.