Wednesday, January 23, 2008

People and Their Stupid Attitudes

Ok, I didn't know Heath Ledger at all. Only saw him in a few movies, so I have no real personal connection to him. He was, however, a great actor and a unique screen presence. Since his untimely death yesterday it has obviously been a topic of conversation. The autopsy has been inconclusive and they need to do more tests. Whatever the outcome (which, I believe will be an accidental overdose of mixing the wrong medications together), some people's reactions have really begun to piss me off.

Two reactions from people I work with -

"Who cares, he's dead. People die everyday. If I was in that Brokeback Mountain movie I probably would have too."

"Are you guys still talking about Heath Ledger? It's over, he's dead."

and from a friend of my aunt's -

"I don't care about that, he was in that Brokeback Mountain movie."

You people sicken me. What a horrible attitude to have. Whether you knew Heath Ledger or not, liked him or hated him, or never even saw a movie he was in, he was still a human being and by all accounts a good one. Just because he may have been in movies that you didn't like or made decisions that were contrary to your beliefs that doesn't give you the right to be so cold, or to tell me that in some way my caring about it is wrong somehow. If he was someone you knew personally that had lived the same life he had, that might have been in some way against your beliefs , etc. would you be so callous then? I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain and for obvious reasons I hadn't wanted to see it, but in the last year or so, I have wanted to. If, for no other reason to understand someone I know who has had a similar life struggle. Admittedly, I have been a little prejudiced about the movie's subject matter. So, I rented it today. I haven't watched it yet, but I will.

(EDIT - 4/10/08 - I did watch it then and it was an amazing piece of film. Whether you agree with the subject matter of two men being in love, is really irrelevant if you want to understand and come to understand another human beings existence. Granted, it's a work of fiction, but undoubtedly, it conveys a struggle that many people, man or woman have dealt with in their lives for generations. It's not my struggle, but despite that, I need to understand. And now, to a better degree, I do.)

Whether it's something you agree with or not, I don't really care. Are we not all children of the same God? Are we not all taught tolerance and forgiveness? I am so sick and tired of people judging people and causing hatred among the human race. If it helps me to understand my fellow man that is different than I happen to be, then I will consider it a positive experience. And I can skip some parts if I need to.

While I admired Heath for his talents, I didn't see him as a walking God. But, he was a child of God. And yes, maybe people do die everyday. Just because of that, we should stop caring when someone dies suddenly? Especially when every sign points to it being an accident.

Sadly, it seems that his dedication to acting is what might have led to his death. For The Dark Knight, he devoted himself 110% to create The Joker. He started losing sleep and became exhausted. So, finding sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medicine isn't entirely a surprise. My friend that has done some acting told me in creating a performance, you don't leave it all at work, part of it is in you. In that sense, it's a real tragedy. He loved what he did and it seems that it was his downfall.

So to all the people that think those thoughts about Heath Ledger or anyone that passes away, and forget the tragedy of someone's death (whether it's self-inflicted or accidental) and the pain their loved ones are enduring, to you I say:

Remind me to think that way when you die.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

R.I.P. - Heath Ledger

Actor Heath Ledger was found dead this afternoon in his New York apartment. He was found by his housekeeper who was waking him for an appointment with a masseuse. He was declared dead at around 3:30 pm by emergency medical personnel. Pills of some nature were found near his body. It's not known yet what type they were, possibly sleeping pills. Heath has a daughter with fellow Brokeback Mountain actress Michelle Williams. The couple split in September of last year.

This is just really sad and unfortunate news. I've always liked Heath Ledger's performances in the movies I have seen him in. The first movie I saw him in was The Patriot. He was stellar and very memorable as Mel Gibson's son.

And, of course, this summer we will all see what will end up being his final performance on the big screen as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Critics and Bat-fans were skeptical of Heath as Christopher Nolan's Clown Prince of Crime and up until last month's premiere of the trailer for the movie, no one was quite sure if he could pull it off or out-do Jack Nicholson's legacy. Internet buzz after the trailer debuted was just incredibly positive. Heath just seems to disappear into character. I was able to see the first 5 minutes of the film with the IMAX presentation of I Am Legend. He owns those minutes.

I fully believe that Heath Ledger will own this summer with his performance as The Joker and it will stand as a testament, along with his other roles, to his amazing acting ability. He definitely had a lot more to offer the world, and whatever is declared the official cause of his death, he will be missed by the world as a whole, in Hollywood, and by those who knew him and were close to him, in particular, his 2 year old daughter, Matilda. My condolences and prayers go out to her and Heath's loved ones.

Here are some quotes from Heath and one of his last interviews:

[on playing The Joker in The Dark Knight] "The Joker, so far, is definitely the most fun I've had with any character. He's just out of control -- no empathy, he's a sociopath, a psychotic, mass-murdering clown. And, I'm just thoroughly, thoroughly enjoying it. It's just exceeded any expectations I had of what the experience would be like."

[On daughter Matilda and being a father] "Matilda is adorable, and beautifully observant and wise. Michelle and I love her so much. Becoming a father exceeds all my expectations. It's the most remarkable experience I've ever had - it's marvelous."

"I only do this because I'm having fun. The day I stop having fun, I'll just walk away. ..I don't want to do this for the rest of my life....I don't want to spend the rest of my youth doing this in this industry. There's so much I want to discover." - Vanity Fair (August 2000)

(This is for his part in the Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There" and he also talks about The Joker. And, I think it's really funny how figgity he is. Biting the clothes pin and whatnot. Just click on the picture.)

Little known Heath Ledger trivia - he tried out for the role of Max Evans on the short-lived hit sci-fi show Roswell, but lost out to Jason Behr.