|Five roles that made actors have a nervous breakdown: Part I of V|
|Written by Brandon James Smith, Vidette Blogger|
|Thursday, 07 April 2011 18:29|
Think acting is easy? Over the next few weeks, I will examine five actors that took their roles so seriously it caused them to have both mental and physical breakdowns, with one even resulting in death. First up is the saddest story of the five and perhaps the most well-known.
Outside of the friends and family who knew him, the name Heath Ledger and the character of the Joker are synonymous. People simply cannot bring up one name without bringing up the other.
Every conversation I hear someone talk about Heath Ledger, even if it’s how they loved him in “10 Things I hate about you” or “Brokeback Mountain,” somewhere in the conversation Ledger’s role as the maniacal clown will mentioned.
If someone even talks about a “Batman” comic and talks about the joker, the image of Ledger instantly appears. Like I said, at this point, the two are synonymous; they are together as one.
There are a lot of rumors over how much playing the role of the Joker contributed to his death. Jack Nicholson, who played the Joker in Tim Burton’s “Batman,” even added credibility to a theory no one will ever know the truth to, claiming he “warned him” about taking the role.
Granted, Ledger died many months after “The Dark Knight” finished filming and nobody is for sure how long he had been on prescription medication or for how long he was battling insomnia. However, in an interview with “Empire” Ledger admitted that preparing for the role brought him to the brink of madness.
In the interview, Ledger said “I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices…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, and Chris has given me free rein.”
According to friends, he was in character while writing into his diary. The thoughts written down supposedly weren’t Ledger’s, but instead were the sick and twisted thoughts the Joker might have. That’s some messed up stuff. Dude became a recluse in a hotel methodically turning himself into an evil maniac.
He expressed concern about how the role took its toll on him and how he couldn’t sleep. His sleep issues were so bad that he said he would take sleeping pills only to wake up within a couple hours feeling groggy and disoriented.
It’s terribly tragic, but it’s quite possible that Ledger’s drug problem stemmed not from getting high, but rather that he was desperate and willing to put anything into his system that would allow him to sleep.
Regardless of how much of a factor the character of the Joker played in Ledger’s eventual death, there’s no denying that he lived the role and his dedication to his craft enabled him to create one of the most iconic and compelling roles in film history…rightfully earning him a posthumous Academy Award with a very emotional acceptance speech from his family.