Inside Heath Ledger’s ‘Dark Knight’ Diary
Those are the chilling final words scrawled in capital letters on the last page of a diary the late Heath Ledger kept as he was filming ‘The Dark Knight,’ his last finished movie. Ledger’s father, Kim, opened up Ledger’s Joker diary publicly for the first time for the upcoming documentary ‘Too Young to Die,’ giving fans a fascinating glimpse into how the late actor created one of the most memorable movie villains of all-time.
The actor told Empire of his preparation shortly after ‘Dark Knight’ filming wrapped, explaining, “I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary.”
The diary, seen here for the first time in this video, actually feels more like a scrapbook. On the cover it says simply, “The Joker,” with a picture of an elephant and a young girl in a hat. While there certainly are pages of written text inside, there are also many pages of pasted images including a couple of Alex from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (with the caption “Got Milk?”), a few panels from Batman comics and, of course, lots of clowns.
Ledger’s father doesn’t read directly from the diary and most of the text is difficult to make out, but on one page you can clearly see, “Why So Serious?” written at the bottom. At the top of one entry, highlighted in pink is “HOSPITAL ROOM” and below it reads the Joker’s monologue from the hospital scene with Harvey Dent. “I don’t want there to be any hard feelings between us, Harvey. When you and Rachel were being adbucted, I was sitting in Gordon’s cage. I didn’t rig those charges.”
The clip is from a German documentary, Ledger’s father speaks English and the dialogue is curiously overdubbed into French, but a translation provided by a YouTube user allows us to hear Kim Ledger’s words as he flips through the diary:
This is the Joker’s diary. In order to inhabit his character, he locked himself up in a hotel room for weeks. He would do that. He liked to dive into his characters, but this time he really took it up a notch.
The hospital scene is interesting because when he was a kid, his sister Kate liked to dress him up as a nurse. He was really funny like that. He also was in the movie. This is a make-up test which was done eight months before. Before the end of the shooting he wrote ‘bye bye’ on the back of the page. It was hard to see this.
You can watch the clip below to see inside Heath Ledger’s diary for yourself. It’s amazing, a little creepy and really heartbreaking.