I am embarrassed to say I had never seen the notorious superhero film “The Dark Knight” until I had to watch it for one of my classes. The Dark Knight is the second film of the Batman series and notably the best. The opening scene of the film features men with clown masks trying to rob a bank where we are finally introduced to the famous “joker.” Before watching this film I had anticipated seeing Heath Ledger and his acting because of all of the great reviews I had heard. I also was interested to see how he played this role because of the articles I read about him getting into character. Right after the movie was filmed, Heath died of a drug overdose which many believe to be suicide.
I watched an interview with his father who discussed Heath’s methods of understanding the joker’s character as deep as he could. He was reclusive in an apartment for several months and put together a book that had pictures and quotes of famous actors and various characters that could help him get into playing such a horrific role. Heath Ledger is not the first actor to have struggled mentally with playing a role in a film. Jack Nicholson’s role as the psychotic killer in “The Shining” played with his mind so much he was forced to attend therapy sessions following filming afterwards. I find it interesting that actors invest so much of their life into one role that they often fear that the character will become a reality for them. There are often therapists on set to help actors get out of a role and perform exercises to remember that it should not play into their everyday life. Knowing Heath’s passion of embodying the role of the joker truly makes watching this film a remarkable experience.