Joseph McCabe has revealed in his book, 100 Things Batman Fans Show Know & Do Before They Die, that Heath Ledger wanted Christian Bale to beat him up for real as Batman in The Dark Knight.
It’s been well documented how seriously Heath Ledger took the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight. He became totally invested in the character and basically became the Joker whilst filming Christopher Nolan’s masterful superhero movie. Jared Leto tried to do something similar, but the results were not quite as impressive as Ledger’s performance, who was awarded an Oscar for his turn as DC’s infamous villain. However, it turns out that Heath Ledger was so committed to the role that whilst filming the iconic interrogation scene between Batman and the Joker he asked Christian Bale to really beat him up.
Joseph McCabe has been working on a book called 100 Things Batman Fans Show Know & Do Before They Die, in which he conducts interviews with Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan. Whilst talking to Bale, he starts to discuss what it was like working alongside Heath Ledger and revealed that the Austrailian actor wanted him to beat him up for real during the interrogation scene. Experts from the book were published in The Hollywood Reporter:
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.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of Ledger’s complete commitment to the role. It was revealed that his New York flat was a shrine to the Joker. It’s also not the first time an actor’s become overly invested in the character. I mentioned how Jared Leto went full method when playing the Joker in Suicide Squad, however that just resulted in him sending used condoms and anal beads to his co-stars. Jack Nicholson also spoke of how the role affected him. Playing the Joker seems to take its toll on actors.
I still think that they should cast IT’s Bill Skargärd as the Joker in the upcoming Joker spin-off movie. I think he’d be perfect for the role. It just depends whether he’d want to play another maniacal clown on-screen.
What did you think of Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight? Let us know in the comments below.