Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight series were the first superhero films to show just how gritty and dark the genre could be. And Heath Ledger’s Joker was the crown jewel of the films. Not only was his performance remarkable, but it defied all expectations. No one thought the rom-com star — known for acting in movies like 10 Things I Hate About You — had the chops to pull off a character as wicked and ruthless as the Joker.
Well, Ledger, who would have turned 38 today, pulled it off. His portrayal of the Joker is hailed as the best to this day, garnering him a posthumous Oscar win. But it wasn’t easy. Many have tied Ledger’s 2008 overdose to the mental deterioration he suffered after the role. This video shows just how far he went to capture the essence of the Batman’s most notorious enemy.
In a clip from Too Young To Die, the 2014 documentary about his life, haunting footage shows Ledger’s father going through the pages of his Joker Diary.