It’s been exactly 10 years to the day since Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York City apartment due to an accidental overdose from a cornucopia of prescription drugs, just months after delivering one of the most gripping performances in cinematic history.
A decade after Ledger’s death, there is still discussion over how much the actor’s mental and physical transformation into the Joker played into his demise. Heath’s sister Kate Ledger adamantly shot down rumors that the self-imposed obsession with the role led to his overdose, claiming the actor was having fun and the rumors “couldn’t be more wrong.”
Ledger’s own descriptions about his preparation for the role gave credence to the idea that it was much more nuanced than just “fun.” In an interview given to Empire magazine prior to his death Ledger explained how his version of The Joker came to be:
“I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices — it was important to try to find a somewhat iconic voice and laugh,” he said.
“I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath — someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts,” Ledger said. “He’s just an absolute sociopath, a cold-blooded, mass-murdering clown … Nothing intimidates him, and everything is a big joke.”
In honor of the 10 year anniversary of his passing, lets all remember one of the greatest scenes in one of the most memorable performances of all-time.