Maggie Gyllenhaal Remembers Working with 'Amazing' Heath Ledger on The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight has remained one of the most revered performances of all time, and no one had a closer look at the magic than Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The actress starred opposite Ledger in the movie as Rachel, Batman’s girlfriend, and she recalled on Watch What Happens Live how incredible it was to see his method acting first hand.
“I remember coming to work and seeing him — that scene where the Joker throws me off a roof — and seeing him come in and start to do what he was doing, which was the first time I saw it,” she said. “I still think about this sometimes — it’s so hard to be good in a huge movie like that, that’s not about the acting, really. It’s so much easier to be good in a little tiny movie where it’s all about you.”
She continued, “To be amazing like Heath was in a movie that’s got explosions and huge stunt scenes and big sets is a whole other thing. I don’t know if anyone’s ever, ever done that as well as he did in The Dark Knight.”
In early 2008, months before The Dark Knight opened on July 18, an exhausted Ledger retreated to his New York City apartment to try and get some rest and recuperate from an illness he couldn’t shake.
Despite warnings from friends and family about mixing sleeping pills with prescription medications, the Brokeback Mountain star was found dead on January 22, 2008 in his apartment. A toxicology report revealed a fatal mix of prescription drugs in his system.
He would go on to posthumously win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in 2009 after his death.