These days the late Heath Ledger is thought of as the ultimate Batman villain, after his turn as the Joker won almost universal acclaim and won him a posthumous Oscar, but incredibly the 'Brokeback Mountain' star was originally supposed to play Batman, not his nemesis.
The actor was originally approached by Batman director Christopher Nolan to play Bruce Wayne in his superhero reboot 'Batman Begins', the role that eventually went to Christian Bale, with the rest being history.
In an an interview with The Playlist, Nolan described how the actor initially told him that he had no interest in appearing in a Hollywood superhero blockbuster.
Nolan said: "He was quite gracious about it, but he said, 'I would never take a part in a superhero film', I explained to him what I wanted to do with Batman Begins and I think maybe he felt I achieved it."
Nolan also added to Ledger's unconvential appearance as The Joker by sending him books which contained Francis Bacon paintings, an influence that can be clearly seen in the movie. He also gave the actor Anthony Burgess's novel 'A Clockwork Orange', famously made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick.
Nolan said: "Heath spent months and months [preparing], we cast him even before the script was written so he had a very long time to obsess about it, think about what he was going to do, to really figure it out."
The 'Memento' director also recalled how surprising Ledger's performance was, adding: "The voice was certainly scary because it would shift in pitch," he recalled. "You never quite know which way the pitch is going to go with the voice. Just as the physical movements were [unpredictable], you didn't know what he was going to do with his hands, the way he moved, it was always a surprise.
"The actual tone of his voice was a surprise too. Sometimes threatening and sometimes more sing-song and light."
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