Thursday, July 24, 2008

Getting into Character

I saw The Dark Knight yesterday. It was ridiculously awesome. I love a well played homicidal maniac, and Heath Ledger was brilliant as the Joker. That said, I spent much of the movie wondering how the role affected him. Ledger spent a month alone to get into his character, during which time he started taking sleeping pills. Little surprise he couldn't sleep while he was swimming in the cerebrospinal fluid of a psychotic killer. I am reminded of my traumatic experience of watching Devil's Advocate several years ago. I am convinced Al Pacino was possessed by Satan while he played the role, and I can no longer watch Pacino films or even listen to interviews with him. As a writer, I know what it's like to get lost wandering the corridors of someone else's gray matter and the strength it can take to push off the emotional weight when you're done with the character. Ledger's death was ruled accidental overdose, but I can't help wondering.... At least he will never watch his career go downhill, and moviegoers will remember him in a truly masterful role.

Current song: "Your Racist Friend," They Might Be Giants

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