Usually a five-day drive over 2,500 miles of barren landscape, it took them three. And just enough cash from my folks to get across the country,” he says, covering his lap with one of the tasseled wool blankets the restaurant furnishes for those unaccustomed to the Czech night air. I had come so close to so many great projects that I just had the rub taken out of me. But, more important, I’m wasting mine.’ I was so in the dumps I just didn’t give a shit. But they must have been a little curious about my behavior, because I ended up getting called back.”‘It was down to Heath and one other fellow,” says Mel Gibson. “It wasn’t the death of something, but the birth of something else. I’m sure my parents were really concerned, but they were wise enough not to show it to me too much. By 19—with two television series and the Australian art-house hit for which he received a little less than 0,000. He was offered teen movie after teen movie, but he turned them all down. I don’t even want to spend the rest of my youth doing this in this industry. If I didn’t get the part, I was going to go back home. But I went in anyway and read for the director, Roland Emmerich, and the producer, Dean Devlin, and some other people. (It is rumored that Ryan Phillippe was the second contender.) “At first Roland wanted me to decide, but I couldn’t,” Gibson continues. He should make the decision, and I would be happy with it. Heath possesses an unlikely combination: he has incredible presence, yet he has no fucking pretensions. What I’ve always looked for is redirection of energy and emotion, and maybe the thrust of that started there.” Ledger’s favorite saying is how he likes to “break things down” when life becomes too complicated or painful. K.’ But his response to that was ‘Look, Dad, this is more of an acting role. I mean, well, if Heath ended up gay in his life, I’d still love him as much as I do right now.”“It wasn’t that painful to leave and head for Sydney,” says Ledger. No matter how good your family life is, you just want out. “I want to keep that all my life—the choice to say no,” he says. I wasn’t going to have fun doing a teen movie again.… There’s so much more I want to discover.”He was almost forced to make some of those discoveries before he was cast as Gabriel Martin in and he was flat broke. I had two scenes to read, and was halfway through the second scene and just stopped. He’s much more grounded than I was at that age, when it all started happening for me. That compartmentalization must have started when his family morphed from being a single unit into a happily segmented one. Though he’s fairly laid-back about things, he’s also pretty streetwise.… So if I want to get some sort of recognition, that’s the one I should be doing.’ He wasn’t fazed by any of the other stuff. Perth is the most isolated city in the world, but it’s beautiful. “I’m in control of my life, not anyone in Hollywood.… I think he’ll handle it better than I did.”Robert Rodat, the screenwriter of has his own take on the dichotomy Gibson is getting at. I thought it was strange that they were teaching kids to shoot automatic weapons at 16. His mother, a sometime French tutor, quickly remarried after the divorce and had a daughter, Ashleigh, who is 11. He does seem to have a destiny that he’s in charge of. “He’s the real thing,” says Amy Pascal, chairman of Columbia Pictures.
(Sources say Ledger will cross the million threshold.)Greatrex continues: “I spoke to director Gillian Armstrong just before I came to Prague, and she was raving about Heath.… He knows where his body lies in the space very well. He’s very skilled at that.” A giant shadow falls ominously across the sword-fighting ring. Look at those dark clouds rolling up.”Ledger emerges from the tent where the playback monitor is now stationed. The costume assistant attempts to loosen a bit of the armor on his biceps, for he is getting badly bruised with each two-handed swing of his sword.
When the camera hits certain people, you can feel it sort of go, ‘Ah, that’s O. We’re in good hands here.’ Not many people have that. “Heath is not actory.”“I’ve never met an actor who is actory,” counters Paul Bettany, putting down a copy of Martin Amis’s “That’s always seemed to me to be an apocryphal concept. Ledger trots his horse over to the playback monitor and pries the helmet from his head. A crew member with 40 years’ experience leans in and whispers, “I’ve seen them come and seen them go, and this kid’s got what all the great ones have: he’s in his own damn movie. ”‘Yes, he’s sexy—not traditionally handsome, but there is something there in those eyes of his. But I’ve always been a person who believes that people who break kids’ spirits should be jailed. We all have our individual spirits.”Rock Eisteddfod? You have to create an eight-minute dance piece to a topic you’ve picked.
It makes a star.”“You can tell this is not Heath’s life,” says Shannyn Sossamon, Ledger’s love interest in the film. Never having acted before, she was discovered spinning records at Gwyneth Paltrow’s last birthday party. I mean, I’ve met actors who are wankers, but I’ve met accountants who are wankers, too. Hollywood’s newest visage is revealed, gleaming with sweat in the late-afternoon light. It really doesn’t matter how elaborate the set is or how talented the other actors are—in every frame the great ones are always starring in their own private film. They just can’t help it.”Ledger, after a quick final puff, mounts his horse and reins it in for one more take. They can get incredibly compassionate,” says director Shekhar Kapur, who furnished the third bolt of lightning to strike Ledger’s nascent career when he cast him as the lead in his long-awaited follow-up to to North Africa and England to begin work for Kapur. (“Suitcases,” he replies when asked where he lives.) “You can see that Heath’s a person who understands a bit more about life—and thought a bit more about it—than just being a kid with an interesting face,” says Kapur. “It’s a nationwide high-school competition,” says Ledger.
I think Harvey must be kicking himself now, considering all the buzz about the boy.” (Weinstein, through a spokesman, claims that he doesn’t recall such a film.) In fact, Miramax, along with Paramount, is producing Ledger’s next vehicle, considering the producer’s past failure to appreciate his talent.
The director and Harvey had quite a disagreement about him, and the thing fell apart only a week before we were to start shooting.
On the first day of shooting, Heath was a little shaky.