When we talk about Heath Ledge, the only character that comes to our mind is Joker. The iconic character earned him an Oscar. However, very few of us know that the actor was originally approached for Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
In 2012’s Lincoln Film Centre in New York Nolan said that he would never take a part in a ‘superhero’ film. Then Christian Bale ended up doing the role. Later observing Nolan’s take on comic book films, Ledger reconsidered and signed on to play Joker in The Dark Knight. “I explained to him what I wanted to do with Batman Begins and I think maybe he felt I achieved it,” Nolan said.
Nolan said,“We cast him even before the script was written. So he had a very long time to obsess about it, think about what he was going to do, to really figure it out.”
Nolan continued, “Like a lot of artists, he would sneak up on something. He’d sit with Christian and there would be a line or two where his voice was a little different, throw in a little bit of a laugh. And then we would film hair and makeup tests and try different looks, and in that, he’d start to move, and we’d have these rubber knives and he’d choose what weapon and explore the movement of the character. We weren’t recording sound, so he felt quite able to start talking and showing some of what he was going to do. And in that way he sort of sneaked up on the character.”
Surprisingly, iconic actor Joaquin Phoenix, who also won an Oscar for playing the Joker, was considered for the role of Batman as well.
Talking about rebooting the Batman Films before Nolan signed on, Director Darren Aronofsky said, “The studio wanted Freddie Prinze Jr and I wanted Joaquin Phoenix. I remember thinking, ‘Uh oh, we’re making two different films here.’ That’s a true story. It was a different time. The Batman I wrote was definitely a way different type of take than they ended up making.”