Ledger’s Death a Waste: Caine
Michael Caine recalls sitting on a comfy chair in his London home earlier this year. It was January 22 and the day had been unremarkable.
That changed when the 75-year-old turned on the TV set and BBC’s 10pm news bulletin began.
“It suddenly came up on the news,” said the two-time Oscar winner, his face, all these months later, mirroring the shocking moment.
“I ran to my wife and said: ‘Heath has died’. I couldn’t believe it.”
After almost 100 movies in an acting career that reached its 50-year milestone two years ago, Caine has said goodbye to many of his co-stars, but the death of Heath Ledger at the premature age of 28 shook him to the core.
Caine and the Australian actor had finished shooting British director-writer Christopher Nolan’s Batman sequel, The Dark Knight, just a few months earlier at London’s Leavesden movie studio.
Caine was reprising his role as Batman’s tough-talking butler, Alfred Pennyworth, following the success of 2005’s Batman Begins.
Ledger was the new wild card on Nolan’s set, playing Batman’s crazed nemesis The Joker, a performance that will go down in film history as one of the great villains.
Hidden behind thick, smudged make-up, with scars extending from the corners of his mouth and his hair greasy and wild, Ledger created a character that is despicable, but transfixes the audience when his thin frame and slumped shoulders slither into each scene.
Caine has been vocal about what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should do at next February’s Oscar ceremony.
Caine, a voting member of the Academy, believes at the least Ledger should receive a best supporting actor nomination.
He felt that as he watched Ledger come alive on The Dark Knight set.
“I’d never met Heath before,” Caine said.
“Before we started filming I’d watched Brokeback Mountain, so I was very impressed with him.
“But until he started doing The Joker, wow, that really knocked me back. His death was such a waste.” [stuff]