The Dark Knight star Heath Ledger's most brutal Joker scene was real

Christopher Nolan’s sequel was released 12 years ago today

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Tuesday 21 July 2020 08:28
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Christian Bale reveals that his most brutal scene with Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight was real

A resurfaced Christian Bale interview has shed light on Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in Christopher Nolan film The Dark Knight.

Published by The Hollywood Reporter, the interview sees Bale – who played Batman – recount his memory of the “committed” performance from Ledger.

The film was released 12 years ago today (21 July) in the UK.

Bale revealed that the actor, who died months before the film was released, wanted to be hit for real in one of its key scenes.

The interview, conducted by Joseph McCabe in 2008, is featured in the book 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.

Speaking about the interrogation scene between Batman and Joker, which occurs midway through the film, Bale remembered: “As you see in the movie, Batman starts beating the Joker and realises that this is not your ordinary foe. Because the more I beat him the more he enjoys it. The more I’m giving him satisfaction.

“Heath was behaving in a very similar fashion. He was kinda egging me on. I was saying, ‘You know what? I really don’t need to actually hit you. It’s going to look just as good if I don’t.’ And he’s going, ‘Go on. Go on. Go on.’

Bale continued: “He was slamming himself around, and there were tiled walls inside of that set which were cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them. His commitment was total.”

Ledger went on to win a posthumous Oscar for the role a year later. While much has been reported over the years about how Ledger’s loyalty to the role altered his mental health before his death, his family dismissed such claims earlier this year.

The Dark Knight was preceded by Batman Begins (2005). Trilogy-closer The Dark Knight Rises followed in 2012.

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Bale previously revealed that he’s not a fan of his own performance in the trilogy, admitting that he feels he “didn’t quite nail it”.

Nolan’s new film, Tenet, has just been delayed indefinitely by Warner Bros due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was supposed to be released in August.

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