As emotionally loaded documentary I Am Heath Ledger heads towards its debut on Spike TV, Heath Ledger's family have been vocal about reclaiming the story of his tragic death. His sister, Kate Ledger, has spoken out to The Daily Telegraph against those in the media who claim that playing the Joker drove him to depression and ultimately death.
Interestingly, she also reveals that he planned to return as the Joker:
“I spoke to him the night before (he died) and we were laughing and joking... He was so proud of what he had done in Batman. And I know he had plans for another Batman. He loved working with Chris Nolan and Christian Bale and Gary Oldman. He just had the best time ever doing that film.”“When he came home at Christmas he couldn’t wait to tell us all about it and he was doing the voice and laughing, showing me all the rushes. We had a great time.”
That hardly sounds like the narrative we've been fed for so long, but critics of the documentary are already suggesting it hides his demons, but Kate paints a different picture:
“He was a really happy person and he had huge plans for his future. As you see in the documentary, he could have very easily gone down that heartthrob career (path) and done a lot of those roles, and he chose not to right from the very beginning. He wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. He was always in command of what he did. He wouldn’t just do something for the money.”
It would have been interesting to see the plans for The Joker in The Dark Knight Rises: we already know there was initially a plan to have him appear in two films (before The Dark Knight was rewritten), but all plans were changed in the wake of the real life tragedy. Regardless of the specifics, that fateful day robbed us of the opportunity to see more of one of the greatest comic book movie performances of all time.
I Am Heath Ledger premieres on Spike on May 17th - here's the trailer...