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Did Heath Ledger's Obsession With His Role As The Joker Send Him Over The Edge? 20.Apr.2008

Heath as JokerI'm not really big on seeing the latest movies; at $8 to $12 a pop, I've got to have some kind of assurance that it'll be worth my while. The upcoming Batman movie, The Dark Knight, looks like it'll be worth every cent of that admission fee, with advance buzz that it's Ledger's best role ever. His obsession with his craft, however, may have been what pushed him over the edge and led to his overdose.

Film legend Michael Caine, not one to scare easy, says that Ledger was "terrifying" as The Joker. "The first time I saw him, we were rehearsing. He comes up in the elevator to me in Batman's flat and raids the place. And I hadn't seen him, I'd never met him and he comes out screaming and it's like 'wow'. I completely forgot my lines. Scary. It will frighten the life out of people."

Sources on the Dark Knight set say that Heath became so obsessed with his role that he was "urged to seek psychiatric help". The source said that Heath would even come to the set on his days off, but stayed in character, ignoring those who addressed him as anything other than The Joker. That's not to say that playing such a psychotic role did him in, but it probably made a somewhat tenuous hold on reality even more so. The role definitely accelerated a downslide that began when he and Michelle broke up.