I recently watched an episode of Too Young To Die on Heath Ledger. This documentary series touches on several actors and I dropped everything to watch the one about Ledger.
What fascinated me the most was when the father was going through a diary of Heath Ledger’s that were in storage. This journal was what Heath Ledger used to prepare for and process the character of The Joker in the movie The Dark Night (2008)
I was thankful to hear that some of the items that Heath Ledger kept from his own personal art work and what he did for movies will be placed in a museum to see. I think he was an exceptional artist.
When the father opened up the pages of the diary I was surprised to see the following image:
When I first saw the image at the top right hand corner I immediately recognized it from the movie A Clockwork Orange (1971). When I saw this picture it was like an important puzzle piece got put into place. I thought in my mind “Yea, Ledger’s portrait of the Joker does remind me of that character from A Clockwork Orange!”
A Clockwork Orange movie is a gritty film that is futuristic and post-apocalyptic. The depiction of sex and violence and at times those infusion of those two things in the movie are not for the faint of heart. I believe that the film was made from the perspective of a philosophy and to make a point rather than to merely entertain. The main character is Alex played by Malcolm McDowell. The movie is largely about the question of nature verses nurture or DNA verses environment.
In a lot of ways the movie A Clockwork Orange is a bit like asking “What would happen if we tried to put The Joker through rehabilitation?”
I think it was a sign of imagination and genius for Heath Ledger to draw inspiration from this character. It comes out in the Batman movie for sure.
I was sad when Heath Ledger died. He was an incredible actor who had an amazing way to process and portray a character. His portrait of The Joker is no exception.