It’s still funny to think that somebody like Heath Ledger is dead. This may turning a sad fangirl post, but I intend for it to be a musing. Heath was one of two “pin ups” I had on my bedroom wall as a teenager. The other, was Jonathan Brandis, whose character “Lucas Wolenczak” in seaQuest was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I loved that show, in fact, it was seaQuest (and not a small part of Brandis’ character), that chose my university degree for me. You see, I had dreams (and still do), of being a script writer. Yes, there is still full-length (movie and tv) “fanfiction” scripts with my name on it out there somewhere (they’re going on 10 years old, but they’re there). Because I was inspired, not only by what the writers brought to the table, but how the actor could create this character. With Heath Ledger, it was the same. As bad as ROAR was, I never missed an episode. The writing was Hercules & Xena-esque in its awfulness, but “Conor” just rose above it. And then there was 10 Things I Hate About You… I always loved Shakespeare, and Petruchio – but when its Heath Ledger, its even better. He was an amazing actor. He became his characters – like Johnny Depp or Alec Guinness, or, dare I say it, Brad Pitt (I can’t believe I just said that) who just became invisible behind the who they played, and that is always the mark of genius in stage or theatre.
And then, Jonathan Brandis killed himself. He hanged himself in the hallway of his apartment in 2003 after going to dinner with a few of his friends. I cried for hours (but I didn’t this time… I’m still in shock). But, that is what can happen to child stars, there another, Brad Renfro, who died of a drug overdose – last week. He was just 25.
The thing is, Heath Ledger was not like those child stars. Again, I’m going to kick myself for comparing him to Brad Pitt (who is only just getting my respect as a thespian), but like Mr Pitt – he was just getting better with age. I saw “Candy” in NZ over the holidays, and he was phenomenal. I’m looking forward to seeing him (and another great chameleon – Cate Blanchett) in “I’m not there”, and like the rest of the world – seeing Heath as the Joker, the role that arguably drove him to his death. In the trailer he is unrecognisable, the critics how have seen it already have said it was a flawless performance. If this is the case, I wonder if they’ll award him an Oscar in 2009 posthumously for his performance in The Dark Knight. One can only speculate.
So enough of the fangirl floundering. The Australian, and indeed, the Entertainment news industry has enough fodder until Britney does something else. But we have lost an amazing thespian. And in a society dominated by the media, where actors are considered royalty, we won’t see the likes of somebody so brilliant, and so humble, again for quite a while.
Anyway, next post should have gratuitous postings about the chewy choc chip cookies I make, and a link to their recipe online. Now, for some reading and ordering on the pensky file…