Cut to 2017 and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is still regarded as one of, if not the best comic-book films ever made. The movie transcended the genre in a way that few comic-book films have, and showed that Nolan intended to make good on his promise of creating a Batman film “grounded in reality”. The film had many amazing elements: the Hong Kong infiltration, “Ta-Da!”, the actual flipping of an 18-wheeler, etc. However, most fans would agree that the most stunning part of the film is its villain.
The late Heath Ledger absolutely knocked it out of the park with his portrayal of The Joker, winning a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the anarchy that he committed to film. You may recall one of his finest moments was in the interrogation room scene, where he played a twisted therapist to Christian Bale’s brooding Batman. Now, more than 8 years later, we have a bit more insight into that iconic moment. In the upcoming book 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, author Joseph McCabe was able to conduct an interview with Christian Bale, and asked him about his experience working with Heath Ledger. Bale revealed that some moments blurred the lines between acting, and reality (via THR):
“As you see in the movie, Batman starts beating the Joker and realizes that this is not your ordinary foe. Because the more I beat him the more he enjoys it. The more I’m giving him satisfaction. Heath was behaving in a very similar fashion. He was kinda egging me on. I was saying, ‘You know what, I really don’t need to actually hit you. It’s going to look just as good if I don’t.’ And he’s going, ‘Go on. Go on. Go on…’ He was slamming himself around, and there were tiled walls inside of that set which were cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them. His commitment was total.”
Christian Bale, and Heath Ledger adopted very similar methods for creating their characters. Having these two in the same room, giving it their all, must have been a sight to see. This news also makes one wonder, all of these years later, what Chris Nolan had intended for The Joker in the third film.