Christian Bale on 'Kindred Spirit' Heath Ledger

Christian Bale on 'Kindred Spirit' Heath Ledger

06/25/2008 AT 01:20 PM EDT

The Dark Knight's Christian Bale says he misses co-star Heath Ledger deeply, and that he hopes their movie – the very last one Ledger completed – will be a celebration of his friend's life and work.

"I want to talk about Heath," Bale told this Sunday's issue of PARADE. "When you miss somebody, you want to speak about him. He was a good man, and I was glad to have spent time with him."

Ledger died in a Manhattan apartment in January at the age of 28. His death was later ruled an accidental prescription-drug overdose. Ledger had finished work on The Dark Knight and was still working on The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus when he died.

For Bale, Ledger's absence will be felt a long time, he says, especially since he had felt the two would be close for a long time.

"He was somebody who I'd been seeing on a daily basis for months," Bale says. "It takes a long time to accept that someone's gone, when all body and mind are telling you that this is somebody you will know for a great deal of time. He was something of a kindred spirit to myself."

Among other things, Bale and Ledger – who play mortal enemies Batman and the Joker in the film – bonded over their daughters. Matilda, Ledger's daughter with Michelle Williams, turns 3 this fall. Bale's own daughter is 3 now.

"Much of it has to do with my respect for his daughter, whom he loved so dearly and whom he would talk about so often," Bale says of his closeness with Ledger. "For me, that is of incredible importance."

Bale has previously said that Ledger did a hell of a job on their movie, something he'd hoped he and Ledger would share.

Now, Bale says, he wants The Dark Knight to stand as a testament to his late friend's talent, and help erase the ugliness of the days immediately after Ledger's death.

"I hope in a small way that The Dark Knight can be a celebration of his work," he says. "Not like the hideous circus after he died, which I felt was an invasion of a private life. This movie is not a personal home video. This is what he did. I hope people will embrace that in the correct fashion."

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