Saturday, January 3, 2009
A little something about Heath Ledger.
On re-reading my "Happy 2009" post, I realized that I've come to mark the passing of time the way many adults do--by who has passed, and I listed some notable names, but I left out Heath Ledger. And I had to go back and double-check just when it was he died, because I almost felt like he left in 2007--but no, it was January, 2008. And I felt a lump rise in my throat. Because it felt like he had just been gone so long. A famous person tragically found deceased. You know.
One for the ages. Like Steve McQueen or James Dean or any other fabulous great artist who seemed so mourned. So long.
But he had one really kick-ass awesome role rolled out in 2008--his Joker in The Dark Knight was a dark fucking masterpiece. He was ugly and unpleasant. He was threatening and challenging--
He went from this:
But that wasn't who he seemed to be, when he was himself. No, he created that scene-stealing, heart-reading monster and evoked that creature--but he was just a guy. A quite normal guy with just normal people problems. And normal people joys. A kid. Girlfriends. A career that was headed for great things--
Because he dared to act those things out. He took that role in Brokeback Mountain not knowing what a success it'd be. It was a risk. He played a light-hearted, but dynamic Casanova in 2005. LIght comedy--to drama, to something darker still... He was talented, no question. And so (can I tell you?) magnetically attractive.
Shoot, I was half-in-love with Heath Ledger since The Patriot. I generally fall for older men, and probably would've watched Mel Gibson if Heath wasn't--um....
They call it having an "old soul", I think. Something about him riveted one. Okay, riveted me. He just had that quality.
Anyway, this is not about me being a fangirl for him--but to say I think, of people gone in 2008, he had a hell of a lot of promise. He will be missed. He was part of a kick-ass crew on a balls-out kicking movie where he ruled the screen--I mean he owned it. His Joker will be known as Legendary. And yet, it was a role where Ledger's own magnetism and attractiveness, were hidden. He made that devil repell and horrify--it was some damn good acting. He could have done fabulous things. He had so much more promise than his short life gave him--
It's a cautionary tale, then. First: Whatsoever your hand finds to do--do it with your might. (That was an old school motto, for me, but it holds, generally.) Whether you load trucks or answer phones or act or sing, or treat the sick or teach the shoeless and backward--just do it well. That was what he did, excellently. He acted--well. But also: take good care of yourself, share your troubles with others, and don't self-medicate--there was the cause I think of his leaving. If only he had a good therapist or someone he could talk to.
We don't even know the hole in our cinema that he neglected to fill by his passing. We can only fathom that it would've been big.