Nolan explains secret to Heath Ledger's Joker

Rianne Houghton
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

From Digital Spy

It's ten years since Heath Ledger tragically passed away, and that also means it's ten years since his iconic performance as the Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.

Ledger's unique take on the anarchic and sadistic Clown Prince of Crime has resonated with fans since it first hit screens all those years ago – in fact, just yesterday (January 22), on the tenth anniversary of the actor's death, Heath's turn as the Joker was named the best movie villain of all time.

Looking back on the actor's approach to playing the legendary villain, The Dark Knight Trilogy's creator Christopher Nolan has reflected on his "unpredictable" and "extraordinary" work.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Heath Ledger's family deny that playing the Joker led to his depression

Speaking toBBC Radio 1, Nolan said that he was "very proud" to have been involved with Ledger's performance, and his eventual posthumous Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor.

"I took huge pride in having been in any way involved with this great performance, this legacy. He was an extraordinary person and an extraordinary actor," he explained.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

"For him to be recognised in that way, I think, it was very meaningful for his family and meaningful, I think, for film history that what he contributed... be marked in that way."

Remembering Heath's immersive and unpredictable embodiment of the Joker, he said: "A lot of what Heath did, he would discuss with me, but... he'd give me hints about what he was going to do, or we would talk about it a bit.

"I would try and be an audience for him or sort of gauge with him what he was doing, but a lot of it was about unpredictability, and I think he wanted to play his cards a little close to the chest."

He continued: "He would very gradually reveal to me the voice and the way he was going to do things, but not in one go... We watched him develop it with the wardrobe and the make-up and everything."

Focusing on the voice, Nolan said: "[It] was so unpredictable, he created this bizarre pitch. I've seen a lot of people try to imitate it since; you never knew whether he was going to go high or he was going to go low, you never knew what that guy was going to do, and that was what was terrifying about him."

We miss you, Heath.

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