Sisters Say Heath Ledger’s Fatal Overdose Wasn’t Caused By Joker Obsession
The notion that Heath Ledger’s obsession with playing The Joker caused his downfall is an urban myth says the deceased actor’s sisters. At the Tribeca Film Festival during the premiere of I Am Heath Ledger the sisters refuted claims that the actor suffered from depression after portraying the psychotic Batman villain.
Heath’s sister Kate Ledger shot down the rumors that the role of The Joker caused the 28-year-old actor to go into a depression which eventually led to an overdose of prescription medication.
“I was really shocked, because that was him having fun,” Kate said. “Every report was coming out that he was depressed and that [the role] was taking this toll on him, and we’re going, honestly, it was the absolute opposite. It couldn’t be more wrong.”
“He had an amazing sense of humour, and I guess maybe only his family and friends knew that, but he was having fun,” she continued. “He wasn’t depressed about the Joker!”
Ledger’s other sister Ashleigh Bell was also on a panel for the family-endorsed documentary and said when “everything that came into light about The Joker, we were all so confused.”
“For us, it was a lot about showing the world what they didn’t know about him,” Bell said. “Obviously he was such a prominent actor and everyone knew that side of him already…But we knew the photographer, the father. He was such a filmmaker. He was such a creator of everything.”
“I hope it’s an antidote to a lot of the gossip that exists in the world,” the documentary’s producer Matt Amato said. “There are some really terrible things about Heath out there.”
A year before he passed away, Ledger complained about insomnia as a result of playing The Joker to the New York Times.
“Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” Heath said. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.”
In a 2007 interview with Empire, here’s what Ledger had to say about playing the Jester of Genocide:
“It’s a combination of reading all the comic books I could that were relevant to the script and then just closing my eyes and meditating on it. 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. I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath — someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts. He’s just an absolute sociopath, a cold-blooded, mass-murdering clown.”
“It was kind of a cathartic experience for us, actually, because we, on purpose, haven’t done anything. We’ve had loads of requests, of course, over the years, and we’ve waited until we felt comfortable,” Bell said of the documentary.