Friday, July 18, 2008
photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News
Heath Ledger, who stars in the rock-based movie "A Knight's Tale," explains how the director sought input from various sources to create the production at The Crescent Hotel in Dallas on April 24, 2001.
Heath Ledger greets at a friend at The Crescent Hotel in Dallas.
In one minute "The Dark Knight" will begin showing in theaters across America. The movie stars the late Heath Ledger as a disturbingly dark incarnation of The Joker. Even before it opens, critics are proclaiming the movie as Ledger's finest work.
I haven't seen the movie yet, but Fayrouz and I plan to see it. Fay wants to see it because Ledger was a fellow Aussie. I'm anxious to see the movie because all the reviews paint the character as the polar opposite of the person I met.
I was assigned to shoot Ledger at an ultra-exclusive hotel in Dallas. He was talking with the reporter over breakfast when I arrived.
He was promoting "A Knight's Tale." It was released after "The Patriot," but before "Brokeback Mountain."
I got some standard over-the-shoulder shots during the interview (top), and then was allowed a few minutes with Ledger to make some additional images in the courtyard (bottom).
The courtyard had a nice fountain. I was about to ask him to sit on the side of the fountain when I noticed a honeybee was already there. Since we have Africanized bees ("killer bees") in Texas, I wasn't keen on letting any bee sting a movie star. So, I scooped the little bugger into the fountain.
It was a bad decision on my part.
Ledger and I spent the next 10 minutes trying to save it. I kept thinking it would sting him, and I'd be responsible. Meanwhile, my shooting time meter continued to count down. Groovy.
Nonetheless, once the bee was safe and sound, we got back to the shoot. Ledger was accommodating, and I got some decent shots.
I'm telling this story because it shows what a nice guy he was. If the critics are right about his upcoming performance, it's a tribute to his ability to play roles contradictory to his nature.
Go see "The Dark Knight," and get wrapped up in the character playing on the screen. Then remember this is the actor who wasn't willing to hurt a honeybee. Factor this tidbit into the equation when evaluating the effectiveness of the character and actor.
Enough for now,