06:18 PM EDT 12/16/2014
Originally posted 08/11/2009 11:45AM
Heath Ledger was only part way through filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus when he died from an accidental drug overdose.
But instead of shelving the project, the film's intrepid director, Terry Gilliam, cast three other actors to finish what Ledger started – versions of his character in the fanciful film are also played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell.
The movie's rollicking trailer, starring all four actors, was released Monday. Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Verne Troyer and Lily Cole also star in the film. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus hits theaters Oct. 16.
– Marla Lehner
Originally posted 06/29/2009 01:50PM
In the days leading up to his death, Heath Ledger battled chronic insomnia, pneumonia and exhaustion, according to several members of Ledger's inner circle – who paint a portrait of a tortured man who struggled with personal strife and professional indecision, reports the August Vanity Fair, on sale nationally July 7.
Apparently, one of the biggest struggles in Ledger's life was his deteriorating relationship with partner Michelle Williams.
"Heath was always blaming himself [about the relationship], asking 'what did I do wrong?'" says Ledger's friend and mentor, director Terry Gilliam. He was overwhelmed by lawyers, and there were more and more of them, as if they were breeding."
Originally posted 05/22/2009 03:15PM
The director of Heath Ledger's final film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, says the late actor was more than just a cast member – he almost co-directed the movie.
"Heath was just brilliant at it, and he got everybody else going," Terry Gilliam said Friday at the Cannes Film Festival, where the movie premiered this week. "Everybody was just energized by Heath. He was extraordinary. He was almost exhausting because he had so much energy."
When Ledger died in January 2008 halfway into his performance, Gilliam said he had to "go out and find a way of finishing the film for Heath," the Associated Press reports. The solution: casting Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to play incarnations of Ledger during the fantasy movie.
Originally posted 04/01/2009 11:30AM
Sir Michael Caine, who played Batman's faithful butler in The Dark Knight, is thrilled by the late Heath Ledger's Oscar win for playing The Joker, "stunned" by Christian Bale's infamous on-set outburst and – has hopes for another sequel.
"I'm so pleased," the Englishman, 76 – himself a double Oscar winner – tells PEOPLE of the posthumous Academy Award presented Ledger in February. "I thought that it was very important for his family as well. I was a big fan of his from the first time that I met him."
Originally posted 02/23/2009 12:00PM
Despite having two actors as parents – and, in the case of her late father, Heath Ledger, an Oscar winner – Michelle Williams's little girl, Matilda, will not grow up in Hollywood, her mother insists.
In fact, Williams, 28, hopes that Matilda, 3, will one day become a doctor. Not that Matilda doesn't have ideas of her own. Her mother admits that currently she wants to be a cowgirl.
With an eye to taking some time from movie work, Williams tells the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph that she is currently very much a stay-at-home mom.
Originally posted 02/22/2009 09:10PM
An underdog movie about a little guy overcoming life's enormous obstacles swept the Oscars Sunday night, as Slumdog Millionaire racked up eight Academy Awards, including those for Best Picture and for its Director, Danny Boyle.
But it was not underdog Mickey Rourke (for The Wrestler) who took the Best Actor Oscar. That honor went to Sean Penn, for Milk, in which he played 1970s gay activist Harvey Milk.
"I did not expect this, and I know how hard I make it to appreciate me, often," Penn said in his impassioned acceptance speech – in which he also acknowledged his fellow nominee, whose career had faded away in the '90s. "Mickey Rourke rises again," said Penn, "and he is my brother."
Originally posted 02/22/2009 10:25PM
In an emotional moment at Sunday's Academy Awards, Heath Ledger's family accepted the actor's posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as the Joker in The Dark Knight.
"Tonight we are choosing to celebrate and be happy for what he has achieved," said his mother Sally Bell, who stood alongside Heath's father, Kim Ledger, and sister, Kate, on the stage of Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.
Added Kate, in reference to Heath's 3-year-old daughter, who will inherit his Oscar when she turns 18, "We proudly accept this award on behalf of your beautiful Matilda."
Originally posted 02/20/2009 10:00AM
The tragic death of Heath Ledger has, thanks to the actor's friends, turned into stroke of luck for one Australian actor.
On Thursday night, Oliver Ackland of Sydney became the inaugural recipient of a scholarship created in Ledger's name with support from friends like Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts and Ledger's former girlfriend, Michelle Williams.
"[Ackland is] a great actor and he's really likeable," Ledger's good friend and Ned Kelly director Gregor Jordan, a judge on the panel, told PEOPLE at the Australians in Film Academy Award Celebration in Los Angeles. "He's got [a sort of] Jude Law look. Maybe he's an Aussie Jude Law, who knows?"
Originally posted 02/18/2009 01:15PM
Heath Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight has garnered praise throughout the awards season.
And if the late actor wins the Oscar for best supporting actor this Sunday, his daughter Matilda, 3, has been named the eventual owner, according to the Associated Press.
Matilda is the only child of the star, who died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs last year. He was 28.
Originally posted 02/14/2009 07:40AM
Details about this year's Oscarcast – from the presenters to how the stage will be set – are all being kept under tight wraps by the show's producers, though the ceremony's host, Hugh Jackman, can't be silent about one thing: his choice for Best Supporting Actor.
And the Oscar should go to … the late Heath Ledger, for The Dark Knight.
"I can't hide the fact that I would really love for that honor to be bestowed upon him," Jackman, speaking to he Associated Press, said of his fellow Australian, who died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs on Jan. 22, 2008. "It would be fitting and I think he deserves it."
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