If words could become adulatory for a single day, taking a mortal form and be tied into a bouquet of roses, presented to an actor, then the recipient would most certainly be Heathcliff Ledger, popularly known as Heath Ledger.
What made Heath stand out?
He was a giant movie star. Not because he managed to win multiple academy awards. Neither did he ever pounce upon the lovely young something’s of Hollywood with random shenanigans that seemed a mothball of flirtatious charm. Here was a man who “acted well the part”, for- in it lay all the glory, if truth, according to Shakespeare be told.
As a man, unafraid to test his boundaries of normalcy, he deep-dived into an exhaustive well of some accomplished Hollywood portrayals, rising as a newbie on the Australian movie scene, evident from his picking of 1996 TV show ‘Sweat’ (where he chose to play a gay cyclist simply coz he wanted to stand out as a performer), 1997’s ‘Paws’ (a tribute to Aussie guitarist Nathan Cavaleri), to his progression toward mainstream Hollywood cinema as reflected by the cute romantic comic caper,1999’s 10 things I hate about you alongside Julia Stile, the gritty action drama, 2001’s A Knight’s Tale and many more.
An icon languishing somewhere between James Dean and River Phoenix
The Western Australian who tucked away a slice of heavenly glory before routing out toward it through many a memorable part in movies, most noticeably in 2009’s Christopher Nolan epic, The Dark Knight, starring as the Joker, took the steam out of Nolan’s Batman.
There have been several actors who have chalked out a screen image of a ‘hero’ for themselves for being in another direction comes with its own baggage of challenges. But, Ledger, a versatile performer who didn’t seem to take his screen idol image too seriously, wouldn’t budge. One reckons, for his unique ability to combine a natural anguish with that devilish charm and a steely resolve that he brought to the screen, he was an iconic actor no less than the imaginarium’s we have sand-castled around myths called the Ironman or the incredible hulk.
Perth-born Heath Ledger, also known as ‘Heathy’ wasn’t a sensation like the eternal charmers-Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. But, then did he have to?
A casual bloke who didn’t mind interacting with audiences, never-mind his notoriously private life that he secured like a golden diary that only he had access to, Ledger’s authenticity to blend the vaguely odd with his own versions of reality made for critically acclaimed Hollywood soirees such as widely debated “Brokeback Mountain”, the unflinching philosophy-meets- plausibility tale penned around a Dylan tribute :I’m Not There, the highly underrated ‘Candy’ and the dramatic and edgy “Ned Kelly”.
He died early, but he did a lot. He brought tears to our eyes, he drenched us with a whirlwind of emotion and made an often somber and morose world charmingly glee with acting prowess that was second to none.
We revisit the intense, passionate and often misunderstood Heath Ledger, possibly, Hollywood’s greatest tragedy since the passing of River Phoenix and also it’s most charming screen scorcher since a certain Jimmy Dean through 5 epic quotes:
- Here Heath stressed on the importance of being oneself. Irrational exuberance and foolhardiness often become the thorn in the path to authenticity. Isn’t it?
A thinking man’s actor, Ledger was the last person who would go out of his way to do something which he didn’t believe in. He was a doer of the real and authentic and from the quote it seems, he had digestible problems with fakeness.
2. A caring and sensitive man, it is hardly a surprise that this quote has often been attributed to the soul Heath Ledger. Since, we are here only for a while and what we desire is often a lot in terms of what we get in life, one must never refrain from expressing himself and according to Ledger, it seemed, he was of the view that one shouldn’t bow down to be dominated or led needlessly.
3. It is no surprise that Heath Ledger starred in the legendary tale of a different kind of love and passion: 2005’s epic dramatic narrative, “Brokeback Mountain”. Ledger was of the view that we are no one to discriminate people on the basis of their gender preferences when it came to the matters of love and passion. There is one life to love and so much chaos already. Why discriminate the other and belittle someone’s existence on this regard. Top shot Heath.
- Not many hold the guts or gravitas to go beyond normal boundaries in an attempt to push their envelopes of creativity and existence. But, Heath Ledger was different. In his matchless and incredible portrayal of a fiend psychopath as the ‘Joker’ in Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece, the Dark Knight of Christian Bale had the perfect antidote to positivism, power and glory in the form of the mindless freak- the Joker. So deeply moving and passionate was Ledger’s improvisation of this damaged character that to this day it is believed, that Ledger’s own darkness added to a repulsive character took the better of one of Hollywood’s finest stars. Sad indeed.
Who likes fame? Perhaps only he who is utterly consumed by it. The likes of people like Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Jimmy Dean and Heath Ledger himself traversed into a world well beyond the normal world feted by the existence of material desires.
Ledger would often speak with a gifted verve of renunciation, nearly signaling his intent to explore himself in the context to his own space in the world, a place that obviously seemed beyond the fancy grins and shining grimace of celebrity-hood.