This past Tuesday (April 4th) would have been Heath Ledger’s 38th birthday. Ledger’s contribution to film was just hitting its stride when his untimely death occurred. He was only 28 years old when he died in 2008 from a fatal combination of prescription drugs. He was a wonderful actor taken far too soon, and so in his honor, this week’s throwback Thursday topic will look back at some of his films.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
A modern version of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”, this movie centered around Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who so badly wished to date Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik). However, there’s only one obstacle and that would be her not-so-friendly sister, Kat (Julia Stiles). The only way their father would allow Bianca to date is if someone also took out Kat. This is where Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) steps in and decides to take on this challenge. My favorite scene is still the one where Ledger sang “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” along with the school’s marching band! And who could forget Stiles reading her poem filled with tears?
The Patriot (2000)
This drama was a departure from the fun the romantic comedies of 10 Things I Hate About You and A Knight’s Tale. Ledger played Gabriel Edward Martin who was the eldest son of Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson). He joins the Continental Army during the American Revolution against his father’s wishes. The story follows the family in a harrowing fight to protect their loved ones and the country.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
A story of forbidden love that would break your heart, this film covered the lives and relationship of two cowboys who fell in love despite it all. Ledger played Ennis Del Mar and Jake Gyllenhaal depicted Jack Twist. Ennis was a tortured soul, who was torn between trying to fulfill his duties as a husband to Alma (Michelle Williams) and a longing for Jack. Watching his portrayal of his character’s struggles was absolutely brilliant.
The Dark Night (2008)
The second installment in the Batman reboot, The Dark Night, brought forth the formidable villain, the Joker played by Ledger. While many might debate who the best actor was in portraying the Joker, my personal favorite is definitely Ledger’s version. His menacing character made all other versions pale in comparison. Ledger’s interpretation of crazy and calculating made the chaos and terror he inflicted much more terrifying than it would have been had the character been played by anyone else.
I Am Heath Ledger (2017)
Almost nine years after his death, a new documentary, I Am Heath Ledger, will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival this month (April 23) before hitting select theaters May 3. The movie discusses his roles in various films and includes interviews from close friends, colleagues, and family. It also contains footage that was filmed by the actor himself. The documentary will subsequently air on Spike TV on Wednesday, May 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Watch the trailer below!