One comment I get on my writing (amongst a lot of other things) is that I can sometimes direct from the page. In other words, I literally tell the cameraman where to point his thingy and describe exactly when an actor should blink. Apparently, this doesn’t make you many friends with directors and actors who want to express themselves… blah… blah.
Well, I guess there was no better example of the validity of these comments than in Dark Knight, which I saw last night. Like WALL-E, this was another much-hyped film although I thought this one was closer to delivering. There was a lot more made of Heath Ledger’s turn as the Joker so I was ready for him to not live up to the almost unattainable expectations that had been set, especially as I’m not really that sentimental.
However, my expectations of Ledger’s Joker was emphatically surpassed. He brought a whole new life into a character that has already been portrayed well on many occasions. He was terrifying and funny, and brilliantly to watch. His facial tics, posture and presence had clearly been though-out and was perfect for the role. I can’t think of a better performance of a villain. Apparently, Ledger locked himself into a hotel room for a month before shooting to get into character – so he probably knew the character better than the writer and would of hated any directions from the page(!).
I’ve almost been in mourning today, thinking about the loss of Ledger’s undoubtable ability. For all the actors today that are labelled as ‘great’, how many actually perform signficantly different roles in other films? A Knight’s Tale, Brokeback Mountain and Dark Knight all had Heath Ledger in them, but only by name.
So I think I’ll keep my directions to a minimum now (he said, wiping a tear away from his right cheek).