I Am Heath Ledger (2017) Script



Uh, we're going to go on a mission right now.

Uh, so will you come with me?


You will.

So I'm going down the street, and I get a hit.

Heath, Heath, Heath... and, sure enough, the next day, I said, "I'm going to hear about something...Heath.

There's something going on."

The next day, I got your email.

I honestly think that the earth is off axis.

I think there's something that is universally out of alignment... with what happened.

I'm not supposed to be talking about this with you.

This is...

This isn't supposed to be being made.

This is fucked up.

Like, this is not something that is supposed to be happening right now.

♪ I'm tearing up ♪ Heath was the most alive human... and if it wasn't on the edge, it didn't interest him.

If there wasn't a risk, some type of risk involved, he had no time for it.

He went all the way out in the time that he had.

He went all the way to the edge.

Some people are just bigger than...

the world has room for.

♪ Still alive who you love ♪

♪ Still alive who you love ♪

He already had this vision as to where he was going to be.

He had these little shiny stars on the ceiling that he put up in this old house.

He said, you know, "That's where I'm going to be."

He said, "I'm going to be in the film industry," and he said, "I'm going to be a film actor."

Heath used to follow his sister Kate, you know, all her productions that she was at at school.

Heath being in the front row like this, for every single one.

"That's what I want to do.

I can't wait 'til I can do that."

He excelled in everything he did.

Chess was his biggest passion.

"Please, just let me win one game.

Why are you just, like, thinking of it at this level?"

Great at art, amazing athlete...

Heath used to get into scraps.

He was a good fighter.

I remember the conversations about Heath wanting to leave school and travel across Australia.

I was quite shocked at the time because he was 17.

It was like trying to settle a wild stallion at the time.

You may as well make a friend of them and support them as best you can and love them, and let's hope that everything turns out.

I've got nothing to run away from in Perth.

I love my family.

I love my friends. I love the city.

It's just there was all this going on outside of that, and I just had to be part of it.

Heath and Trevor, they were out to conquer the world, the two of them.

Pretty much waited for the day for me to finish school, and he was like, "Let's go to Sydney."

It was literally jumping in our car and planting the foot down and just bolting out.

I wanted to just get out there and do it.

♪ March, march ♪

♪ Said march, march ♪ From there, things moved on pretty quick.

♪ Fists in the air as we march on ♪ We're going to Bondi.

We're just starting there.

Roll together.

Come on in, boys and girls.

You get what you want.

He took me to all these auditions, all these interviews...

Never asked. He just did it.

He got a role in an American TV series, Roar.

He had the lead role.


You'll be lucky if you live that long.

Great. Cut!

Now he's an actor. It was serious.

We went to the Gold Coast.

We were put up in a two- bedroom high-rise apartment overlooking the ocean.

Money, as a 17-year-old, was impressive.

"Wow, here we are."

Everything kept moving forward.


Lisa was a real woman, very classy.

He looked up to her.

They fell in love really quickly.

She guided him.

She could see the potential in him.

Lisa, where are we going?

She took his hand and opened a lot of doors.

He followed her from Australia.

She was, like, "Come to L.A."

Dumb-looking photo.

♪ We march on ♪

I never moved there expecting anything to happen.

I kind of went there with the attitude of "Well, I've got nothing to lose."

Heath arrived at some odd hour, and he turns around and looks at me with a big smile and says "Hello!"

Of course, the first thing I noticed was his gigantic smile.

My roommate, Lisa Zane, knew, in her words, that he was going to clean up, meaning be successful in Hollywood.

I think she was the first to know that.

Hello. How was your day?

Oh, it was fun.

There's a book called The Sentimental Education, and I feel that's what he got from Lisa.

Lisa took him to the Venice Carnevale...

and they shot 8-millimeter film...

and would wear the costumes...

and, to me, that was a part of what created him as an actor.

I gave him my friend's script, 10 Things I Hate About You.

He read the script and said, "I really like the role of Patrick," and I said, "Isn't Patrick the lead?"

He said, "Yes, Patrick's the lead, and that's the part I want," and when he came back from the audition, he said, "I got Patrick," and I was like, "Really? You got the lead?" and that's when I realized that Heath was... different.

No offence or anything.

I mean, I know everyone digs your sister, but, um... she's without.

Maybe we should do this another time.

Sometimes people break through because of one thing, whether it's good looks or talent or timing or... you know, who knows, but he sort of had everything down.

One of the most powerful things for an actor, particularly for a man, is their voice...

I've thrown a football, what, a few times in my life, so...

And their physicality...

And their, you know, level of masculinity, and he had all of those things in spades.

There was a bunch of kids staying in a hotel.

Everyone had their own suites, and he brought everyone together, so by the time I got there, the parties were in his room.

10 Things was when he really felt that, "Okay, this is my career.

I'm an actor now."

By then, he had his agent, Steve.

He knew the industry, but he didn't really know the industry.

He'd only been in it for 18 months.

It was pretty early in my career.

You know, he was one of my early clients.

He was looking for people that he could trust.

Home to sleep.

It was just obvious.

He just had this great swagger about him.

So how long have you been acting?


20 years.

How old are you?


You could tell we were going to be on to something.

So one of the things that happens is when you're good at something in a movie, everyone offers you that same thing.

So he did a great job being in a teen romantic comedy, basically, and so anything that, you know, sort of resembled 10 Things I Hate About You came his way, and, of course, that's exactly what he didn't want to do next.

He wanted to mix it up and find a new challenge.

That moment was a very important next step.

"Okay, what do we want to do next?

What do we really want to do if we have a choice?"

People in Hollywood, they don't like to hear "no," you know... and so I had a lot of fun saying "no."

He was always very friendly.

He never seemed out of sorts about it, but he knew what he didn't want.

He was always very appreciative of coming to a house full of art and artists.

I am filming right now.

He got this camera, and he didn't know what to do other than to make something.

It wasn't just to film us and film what we were doing.

He was, like, creating something straight away.

He always used to say to me, "Don't forget your camera," and I was like, "What am I going to film between here and there?" and he was like, "I don't care. You could film your feet."

But we'd watch a lot of our videos back.

He was just... curious, and watching it, and, like, thinking how he could do things different.

That's how he learned.

He never studied... anything, really.

He was self-taught.

He could really see what he was doing and how to do that better or different...


Even if it was the way he smiled or where he was looking, he'd make a lot of things just for himself, just to teach himself.

That's right...

And evil super-villains.

Evil super-villains.

... civilian men and women...


Got it, boss.

Let's go!

Okay, I've got my mission.

We're at the peephole.

You never know who's out there waiting.



Did they know?

Okay, he's not there.

Let's keep on looking.

Down here.

Good Lord.

It was an effort.

Thank God I made it.

What's this? A message?

It must be from him.

Oh, my God...

The screen test for The Patriot came up with Mel Gibson, who's the biggest Australian movie star.

That was one of his idols, and he loved, you know, Mad Max and...

It was a huge, huge thing for him.

It was an actual screen test and costume on the set with the main star.

I was halfway through the second scene that I had to read for them, and words were just bluhblbl, coming out like this, and so I just stopped and stood up and I said, "I'm sorry. I'm wasting your time."

Heath called me and said, "They're not calling you on this one.

I just didn't do well," and it was something, enough there that Roland Emmerich and the studio and Mel all looked at each other and, I think, said, "You know, let's take a shot."

So this is, um, first day shooting.

This is the first day on The Patriot for me.

I'm looking forward to it.

It's been three months since I found out I got this job, and finally, after three months of sitting around thinking about it, I get to go out there and do it.

This is it.


Blink my eyes, and it'll be out there.

Guys, guys, Heath's here, guys.

Everybody look alive.

It was a huge production.

It was a little terrifying to be in another city with no friends, and you're just sitting there on your own.

It's a lonely life.


That's why he took me to most places is that it was us.

Hee hee hee hee.

We met riding our bikes out in the street, and we just became best friends.

We felt... at home together.

You could tell that he was... he wanted to do a good job.

He was still learning.

I'm not going back.

No, I didn't expect you would.

That Gates is a damn fool.

He spent too many years in the British army.

Going muzzle to muzzle with Redcoats in open field... it's madness.

He called me one day from the set, really upset.

He was having a hard time, and he was struggling, just a crisis of confidence.

He was probably, in his head, he's standing across from his idol, acting with Mel Gibson.

For a young Aussie kid, it was a lot.

He would get caught up in the fear of whether or not he could accomplish what he wanted to do.

He kind of almost pulled out of every movie he ever ended up doing.

It's kind of a rule of thumb for me to self-doubt, always think that I shouldn't be doing it, and I don't know how to do it, and I'm going to fail, and that I fooled them, and I always try and find a way out.

And he got past it, and Mel was great.

Mel was so generous with him and really took him under his wing and was amazing.

I'm sorry.

Be quiet.

I'll take care of you. You're going to be all right.


I'm sorry... about Thomas.

Mel really taught him how to come in and out of a character.

He definitely learned how to relax a little, rather than building himself up of, like, "I've got this scene, and I've got to do this."

I think Mel was the first teacher that he had.

Heath used to say to me, "It's not what Mel says.

It's what he doesn't say."

It's good. I'm happy to be finished.

It was long.

It was really fun, though, and they're really great people, and I'm going to catch a plane in two hours.

Mel had said, "Well, I'm taking my jet.

Do you guys want to come with me?"

Mel Gibson's inviting us on his jet...

and, all of a sudden, there we are, with Mel on his jet, cruising back to L.A.

It was definitely, definitely a moment.

So we were always going on adventures and looking for the next adventure that was exciting and fun.

He'd finished a film.

He had downtime.

We went to Burning Man in '99.

Oh, cool.

We were excited because we knew nothing about it.


The creativity that exists there and the ability to ride bikes morning, noon, and night...

I think Burning Man was Heath's favorite place on Earth.

Do you want a whiskey, Trevor?

I'd love a whiskey.


Whiskey and hot dogs. Nice.

It was a bunch of half-naked people and dance music 24-7, and we fit in really well.

Heath lived every moment to the fullest.

He was always looking to create something out of the situation.


You see?

He was an artist.

He loved to paint. He loved to draw.

Cameras were a big passion of his.

He knew the lighting that was available.

He knew the speed of the film that was in his camera and what he could set it at without using a light meter.

The cameras were a part of him.

Heath and I had mutual friends, so it was a setup.

We met, and that was it.

That was it.

There were always cameras around... a video camera, or a Polaroid camera, or the film camera.

I was amazed when I saw all of the stuff together...

and how many photographs...

I mean, he was documenting everything.

He was just surrounded by all of those moments he was in, and then surrounded by them, but then he'd be capturing the next moment and the next moment, you know, and the next moment.

Didn't stop. It never stopped...

and the way he was able to be in the moment and then capture the moment on the camera...

He just got you in your most authentic self.

You know, he really got me.

I think that's a beautiful thing because he's saying, you know, through his photographs, "I see you."

The art was more of a need, almost, to live in the world and then capture the world.

He would draw on it or scratch on it or use crayon or nail polish.

He wanted to take it all with him.

That's the only way I think of him, with the camera in the hand.

That was just Heath.

His mates from Perth, they were a very close, warm, loving, you know, tight group of friends, and he loved having them around.

Okay, so I take the 101 south.

He had, like, 15 years of friendship with kids that we went to kindergarten with that we'd graduated high school with.

Heath always kept them close.

I was privileged enough to go over and see how his life was, and it was incredibly enticing, incredibly alluring.

Oh, my goodness, this has to be, like, the world that everyone wants to live.

Kane Manera from The Strokes...

I think it was the first trip, driving around, and he says, "I've got to go to a friend's house."

Knock on the door, and he's got this, like, slightly cheeky look on his face.

Door opens.

Naomi Campbell answers.

I still have Naomi Campbell pictures on my wall at this point.

So I'm doing my best job of just...

"Hey, how are ya? Nice to meet you," and I'm thinking, "I guess this is what Heath does.

This is how it is now.

Just rolls to Naomi Campbell's house."

Heath! Heath!

Heath's place was renowned for having a stream of Australian actors and whatnots living there.

Casting directors would ask you, "And are you one of the Aussies that lives at Heath's place?"

Yeah, we lived in Los Feliz in this house where the doors were just open, and people would come and stay.

Joel Edgerton and Heath were close friends early on, and he came over, and Martin Henderson...

I did.

Rose Byrne, Gregor Jordan, you know, the director...

You would never know who's staying at Heath's house.

Everyone and anyone was welcome, you know?

He had such generosity of spirit.

It's just miraculous, the energy... him, arms open, as always.

The Australian thing, to me, was like, yeah, come one, come all, you know?

Like, hang out.

Let's make this fun.

People would stay a long time, sometimes.

It was... a bit longer than necessary, but, um, but it was fun.

You've flown around the world.

Staying somewhere in L.A. for a couple of months?

That... phew... costs a lot, and I had nothing going on work-wise.


It sort of didn't matter.

Upstairs, they had a couple turntables.

They had a DJ setup.

"Come in. We're going to do this.

What do you feel like? Just chill out.

Oh, this is my record room. This is the sunroom.

Have you heard of Nick Drake? You've got to listen to this."

Puts it on, boom....

At his house, he had a big record collection, and he could have a big party, and he would always be at the music.

Music was definitely something that was in him that he... he loved.

With him, it was just friends to hang out with and share the journey.

He was very big on sharing his success.

Heath's place in L.A. was sort of a renowned pre-Entourage kind of entourage house.

In fact, when I was staying there, Adrian Grenier was there at one of these nights.

There was a bit of drinking and carrying on going on.

Then I often fancy that he was doing a bit of research on a functioning entourage, 'cause Heath wasn't there, so, you know, "Vinnie," as it were, would've been away making a film.

There were times people were there, he wasn't.

I mean, he was on a set somewhere, working on a movie, you know, in Europe, and his house was full.

We were in Prague.

For the first time, we're really in Europe, and we're living there.

We're there for pre-production.

Knight's Tale was an interesting moment in his career.

Amy Pascal, who runs Sony at the time, really, really loved Heath and appreciated him and wanted him in everything.




Heath really gave an incredible amount of dignity to his characters, even in a film that's as sort of whimsical and light, in its way, as A Knight's Tale.

It's very hard to be as solid as he was.

You know, at first, it was a shock.

You know, I read it.

"Queen, 'We Will Rock You,' rises as they enter the arena."

I think I almost closed the script on that line because I was thinking, oh, it's one of those movies that's trying to, you know, mix the two, but as I read further into it, it explained itself.

The rock 'n' roll music destroys any barriers that are restricting us to historical truths.

You know, it's a fairy tale.

We want the audience to walk in there and to be transported.

We went to Sony for a marketing meeting on A Knight's Tale.

Studio president, studio executives were all there, doing their job, excited about the film, excited about Heath... very excited about Heath.

The poster and the campaign was "He Will Rock You."

It was really built on Heath, you know, the images, Heath's face... he looks like a rock star, and the tag line, "He Will Rock You," and those posters were all over the city, all over Los Angeles.

He was, like, "Whoa, that's my face."

The posters were everywhere.

He knew that would be projecting him into the limelight.

There was a moment where they talked about Heath was going to go city by city and talk about the movie, and, you know, he was going to be the secret weapon.


I could see him getting more and more upset, you know?

We were sitting next to each other, and I kinda, out of the corner of my eye, could tell he was getting very uncomfortable and fidgeting, and he finally whispered to me that he needed to leave, he needed to get out of the room for a second, "Can you excuse me?" and he got up.

I followed him.

He was in the bathroom.

...Sitting there just freaking out, working out what the hell he was gonna do, trying to stick to his guns.

There's this thing in Australia called the tall poppy syndrome, you know?

If one grows too high, whsst, you get cut down back to size, and, as an Australian, you identify with it.

If you do get too successful, it's sort of, there's something that's...

You feel ugly.

Being a salesman and going out and talking about the movie and selling the film, that was the part of the business that I think he was least comfortable with...

Really, really had a hard time with.

He wanted fame...

And then when he got it, he didn't want it.

He was mortified, and he felt owned.

His image, not their image...

Him, his face, his heart, his soul.

I remember he told me, "I'm not gonna be that guy.

I have no interest in being that guy.

I'm not that guy, and I'll show you."

Hey, do you know what you did?

Do you know what you did?

Are you listening to me?

Do you know what you did?

Do you know what you did?

You fucked him up!

He gets to come in, play this role, and break your heart.

In the script Monster's Ball, he felt there was a journey that would take him to another place, another level.

He saw something about himself that attracted him, that he wanted to experiment with, he wanted to play with, and that gave him a perfect opportunity.

He's a supporting role, but I remember him more than anything else in the movie, and he didn't do much.

He was sort of deadpan, you know?

He didn't do a lot of busy performances.

That's the power of Heath Ledger, even when he was young, even as a supporting actor, he will steal the movie, steal the whole show.

It sort of turned things a little bit, and people viewed him a slightly different way, a little bit more of a dramatic actor.

When I read Spider-Man, I talked to him about it, and he was almost immediate that he said, "That makes no sense for me.

I can't possibly be Peter Parker."

He was looking, always, for something that was gonna be truly challenging, to try to figure out ways that he could absolutely disappear into a character and almost be unrecognizable.

That's what really drove him.

In his process of picking what film he was gonna do, most of that came from who was directing it.

Shekhar was a director that he always wanted to work with.

He recommended Heath, myself...

We go out in the desert by ourselves.

You know, just the two of us.

Heath stood there, looking down the valley, and we both just started yelling, trying to see how far your voice will carry.

It's you and the desert.

You're forced to look at yourself.

The impression you have of yourself when you look in the mirror is up to you.

You can see whatever you want to see, and you can be whoever you want to be.

He was really at the start of a journey that was a lot more focused as an artist.

Acting is learning about the life around you and the person you are.

You can learn all the techniques in the world, but if you know nothing about life and yourself, then you're at a loss.

And since we have to believe it, for us, for the audience to believe what you're putting out there, you must believe it yourself.

I will not be responsible for your death.

How could you be responsible for my death?

I will die if it is God's will...


That film was a bit of a soul-searching.

We all grew from that film.

He told me that when they wrapped his character, he stood in the middle of the whole set and collapsed.

I'd been asked to do this movie called Ned Kelly.

A small role, but I was interested because of Heath.

I thought he was really a powerful young actor.

I remember the first day on-set, and I was blown away.

I just felt an incredible connection very quickly, so intense that it was sort of quite shocking.

We connected about acting, and he saw the work that I was putting in and also working with a dialect coach and acting coaches, and he was looking to change it up.

His approach to his work was always very intense.

He had the voice down.

He had these sort of intense eyes.

It takes some real focus to make that shift into the world of what he felt was more artistic.

He really, truly was an artist.

We knew his visual talent from the photography, but I didn't know that it was going to get so serious.

He called me, and he was like, "Man, I've got this idea, and we're gonna make this video."

I'm thinking, "You've got so much to do.

How do you have time to consider me?

How do you have time to think about this?

How do you even have the care?"

That's what was going on in my head while he's talking me through this idea.

"How? How do you do this?

How do you stay so active? How do you stay so interested?

How do you burn so bright all the time?"

It's just how he always was, and I was more than happy to be one of his test subjects towards becoming a director...

Ca use an effect...

...And let's just do it.

Let's just grab a camera and shoot.

Okay, let's do your eye.

All right.

So let's get on with it.

♪ Hum ♪

♪ Hum ♪

♪ Hum hum hum ♪ Yeah. ♪ Hum hum hum hum hum ♪ Let's do it.

Throw ya hands in the sky with me Put 'em up like a dirty cop told ya to freeze Now close ya hands to a fist and squeeze If you represent freedom and you fight for peace It's the all-out fallout I'll come if you call Run with it quick I'm fitted fit More fit than 'em all More fitter than them busty booty MILFs at the mall Milk leakin' out the tit I pounce quick and I maul Them baller cats need to sit back on the bench N'fa's the fresh breath amongst the virulent stench The violence won't end I document with Biro or pen Blood leaking while they're freaking I'm performing and trying to take it in and trying to impress my mate.

Despite who he is to the world, he's still my mate, and I'm trying to impress that and get him going, and he's getting me going.

Throw ya hands in the sky with me Put 'em up like a dirty cop told ya to freeze Now close ya hands to a fist and squeeze The louder he got, the more into it I got.

I grab my balls and I spit on the floor Throw a fist for freedom to shock all y'all No 50/50 If you ain't with me then fuck all y'all If ya with me let me hear ya roar Come on now If he wants me to bark at me what to do, Imma take it, because the best guy in the planet is telling me how to be better.

If you represent freedom and you fight for peace To work with one of my very best friends and do something creative, like, there's not much better than that.

Now close ya hands to a fist and squeeze If you represent freedom and you fight for peace

It's big today.

They're there, huh?

That's Skip charging.

Shit, dude.

My first concern when I heard that he wanted to play the part was I kind of really wanted more of a character actor, in a way.

Philip Seymour Hoffman looked more like Skip, then Heath Ledger is, like, a heartthrob or whatever.

I'm like, "Wait a minute.

I don't know if this is gonna work."

Heath, he came in and talked to me, how he would really get into that character and craft it, and he decided he had to get teeth made like Skip's teeth...

Back to the boneyard for you, pal.

...So that he would feel that he was Skip and talk the way Skip talked.

This interest in the exterior and the craft and the way that the characters would look and sound and physically look onscreen, he was sort of a painter in that way, but he also had a psychological interest in his characters.

Oh, nice socks, man.

Nice socks, nice socks.

If you don't have a sense of play and if you're too serious, the odds are you're gonna be too much of a tightass to create characters.

Skip Engblom and the Zephyr skateboard team.

Here's our entry fees.

Now, where's our trophies?

I don't think he would be afraid to try any acting technique.

He had a confidence, but he wasn't afraid to go and check the monitor and watch playback afterwards.

He wanted to keep exploring with it and pushing it.

He knew that he'd get it right when the time came.

Well, Heath was just so open and curious and absorbing everything around him.

He fully transformed himself.

He has a wig, he has the teeth, and he just slides into this crazy other skin.

One thing that I don't think people realize, as fantastic as he was in Brokeback Mountain, he left Lords of Dogtown and was playing that role about seven days later.

Come on, you fuckin' homo.

I probably fancied that I was staying in character by teasing him about going to do this gay cowboy movie, and I said one... one ribbing too much about the Brokeback, and he just gave me this look.

It was like, "shut the fuck up," and I realized, I was like...

And, um, I didn't say anything about it afterwards.

Before Brokeback Mountain came out, it would've been unthinkable to have a romantic tragedy involving two gay cowboys, which are the very symbol of American masculinity.

This is one of the biggest heartthrobs on Earth taking on that character.

That's balls, and that's an artist.

When his name popped up from casting, I did have a little hesitation.

I didn't know at that time if he can carry a movie, which is what he needs to do in Brokeback Mountain.

Monster's Ball is really the reason I chose him for Brokeback Mountain.

I was that impressed.

The bottom line is, we're around each other, and this thing grabs hold of us again in the wrong place and the wrong time, then we're dead.

The self-hatred and complexity, that just caught me right away.

He clenched his fists and biting his teeth the whole time.

There was no doubt in his mind he was that person.

If you can find that character in you, then that's your success.

That's golden.

That's...that's the magic.

Ennis, I wanted him to be clenched, and I wanted his mouth to be a clenched fist, and I wanted the words to be just punching their way out from within, and just any form of expression had to be painful.

Heath played a character that was very few words.

That's the impression people get.

That's why he's a good actor.

He has the most lines in the movie, but he just say it like a man with few words.

He just has to while... doing those lines.

I don't like actor to look at monitor, 'cause I think actor is to be seen and the monitor is for filmmakers to look at, the viewers to look at, and when these actors look at themselves, it messes up their performances.

It's too aware.

I've never had anybody argue with me on that one, but Heath is the only person...

He would just walk up to the camera.

At first, I was a little taken aback, 'cause I have to say that or he'll watch it anyway.

It doesn't look like he's self-aware.

It just got better.

Take after take, he tried to hit a target.

There is a target he tried to hit, and when he hits it, it's beautiful.

Michelle is a brilliant actress and person, as well, very intelligent, natural for that role.

The performance they have, that relationship in the movie, was really memorable.

We're filming the toboggan, and I look at the producer, I look at the stunt coordinator, and "Yeah, it's a toboggan."


And they flip.

It didn't look like much from where we were seeing, but she was hurt, and when we reached the hospital, we saw Heath sort of holding her hand, trying to comfort her, and it was pretty obvious, his interest in her, so that's pretty quickly it happened.

He goes, "I want you to meet Michelle."

She hugs me in this way that she kind of climbs into my entire soul and squeezes me.

I've never been squeezed like that by someone I hadn't met before.

Like, "Oh, it's so nice to meet you..."

That sweet accent that she has.

He said, "I've got a surprise."

"I'm gonna be a father."

He was pumped.

He was so excited.

You know, after Brokeback, it really started to happen.

It was gonna be an important film, and there wasn't him leaving the room.

There was a level of maturity that this was something that he could handle.

Michelle! Together!

It's incredible just to what extent this film has changed my life.

It's quite miraculous.

Heath felt life deeper than anyone that I've ever met.

He just took everything in that much deeper.

There was one night at Heath's place, a little wine, and then things spin, and then we were on the piano, and, you know, just having fun, and it went into the morning.

Got home, slept in late, woke up, there was a commotion outside, knock at the door, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun.

It says here, "A grand piano from one Heath Ledger, gift to Ben Harper."

I called him right away.

"You're crazy. What are you doing?" you know?

"You're sending me a grand piano.

Like, this is... You can't do this."

"No, mate. It's supposed to be with you."

And what can you say?

What can you say...

Other than "thank you"?

So then a couple weeks later, he calls.

"You know that piano?

I need you to write a lullaby for my daughter that we can play for her when she's born."

All right.

I've never been trusted so deeply.

Nothing has ever been asked of me that was that precious.

♪ The morning sunrise spread her wings ♪

♪ While the moon hung in the sky ♪

♪ Held the sea in her hands ♪

♪ And happy ever after in her eyes ♪

♪ All that I can give you ♪

♪ Is forever yours to keep ♪

♪ Wake up every day with a dream ♪

♪ And happy ever after in your eyes ♪

♪ Happy ever after is in her eyes ♪

♪ Happy ever after is in... ♪

♪ Her eyes ♪

He became more of a dad than an artist... and to say that for Heath...

That's it.

I mean, that's... It's a huge thing.

He really did change a lot.

It was a really exciting time.

He was out to do everything possible to be a good dad, and, you know, a good partner, and everything that we all wish we could be.

He'd reached that spot where "I've got a child.

My life's changed, and hold on, I've gotta be in charge of my own destiny."

Heath was a fantastic father.

He had so much love for her, and it was so beautiful to see.

Being a dad was, like, his favorite thing that he ever did.

♪ River river river river... ♪ He said he'd be moving to New York.

I thought he was gonna move into the city.

Michelle had plans for Brooklyn.

Being the person that he is, he fell in love with Brooklyn too.

He said, "I love Michelle.

I love the world we're building.

I love the neighborhood."

They found a beautiful house.

It felt like he was, like, the trailblazer of Brooklyn.

Cruising through the streets of New York with Matilda on his shoulders.

I mean, that's when he was...

He was just totally happy.

Waking up every morning to that... that smile, it just...

It just... it brightens your day, it really does, and I'm incredibly proud of both of them.

I had given him an early copy of a record of mine called Both Sides of the Gun.

He was getting into videos, and he was getting into directing and getting behind the camera, and that was...

That was exciting him a lot.

Then I got a call at some crazy hour.

"I really wanna do a video.

This record means a lot to me.

How about the song 'Morning Yearning,'" and I said, "Heath, that would be amazing, and I'm gonna leave you alone.

I'll show up and I'll do whatever I need you to do."


♪ Morning yearning ♪

♪ It's a morning yearning ♪

And he really knew exactly what he wanted to do, but what amazed me is how in command he was of everything.

Heath was a one-man force of nature.

He would do lights, the colors, the texture...

He would help with the choreography.

It was super important to him it wasn't a dance video.

It couldn't be something you'd seen before.

♪ Sun is burning ♪

I was just amazed at his prowess with the camera.

Like, he was calling out numbers and, you know, and apertures and the angles.

He had command of his vision.

♪ With hopes of better days to come ♪

♪ It's a morning yearning ♪

♪ Morning yearning ♪

He proceeded to make the best music video I've ever had in my 23 years of making music.

♪ Morning yearning ♪ The Morning Yearning video was shot at this place, Little Radio, downtown.

Had a soundstage, not too big, not too small.

They had a pirate radio station.

They'd do underground shows for underground bands, and it was just on the edge.

The place had a photo booth, and we took a bunch of photos.

He was constantly revealing the next cool thing, but, I mean, I should've known about Little Radio, you know?

That's my business.

♪ Morning yearning ♪

♪ It's a morning yearning ♪ When I saw the Morning Yearning video for the first time, I thought to myself, this guy is going to have a lifetime behind the camera as well as in front of it.

Heath decided that he wanted to establish his moviemaking company with me.

All the people that he had met, Matt was one that he trusted and he'd actually learned from.

The fact that we decided to do this together...

I think a big surprise to a lot of people, actually, to the people that Heath was doing business with, people that were offering him deals at studios.

When it was time to get an office for The Masses, we made sure that it'd be a place where Heath could maintain his privacy.

We didn't want anybody to know that this was Heath Ledger's new office.

He would enter through the back on his motorcycle, of course, cloaked in his helmet, and it was like being home.

"The Masses" is a cool name because it's not meant to be exclusive.

Everyone has the capacity to tell their story.

And they had the whole floor of a building.

You knew as soon as you walked up those stairs, you were going into, like, the hubbub of creativity.

Heath had a little slogan, and that was "Keep It Real."

To do something surprising, mess up the frame a little bit, to not be so symmetrical...

To try something.

Our profound love of music encouraged our idea to have a music company.

I work with bands.

I direct music videos, and I run a small independent label, The Masses, and it's with a whole bunch of my friends, who are all just young creators.

My friend, Grace, she'd been doing just some recording, like, very basic kind of like solo recording in her bedroom...

♪ My dad wrote four words on a tiny piece of paper ♪

♪ These are the stages you'll go through ♪ And I emailed him and I said, "How cool is my friend?

Listen to this song of hers," and, literally within, like, 24 hours, I get a reply.

♪ Acceptance will come too... ♪

"She's amazing.

Can you put me in touch with her?" and I was kind of a bit, like, "What? Oh, yeah, okay. Sure."

♪ Or for that matter, rewind ♪

♪ And though you said that time was blind ♪

♪ Now you're in a place that only exists in my mind ♪ Literally a month or two later, she was on a plane to L.A.

He went very quickly from hearing her voice and wanting to get her into a recording studio.

♪ Ooh... ♪ I knew that it was still a young company, The Masses, and I almost feel like, in a way, they almost weren't prepared for it either.

It was like one minute we were emailing, and the next minute, a 17-year-old girl from Australia is on their doorstep with a guitar.

I got a call from Matt Amato asking if I could come to the offices of The Masses.

I was gonna be having a conversation with Heath.

"Yeah, she's here for another week, and we wanna make a whole album and a video...

And she has some of the songs, but not all of them."

I was down. "Let's just go do it right now."

Heath styled it, he found the locations, he storyboarded it, and I would just say, "Yeah, that sounds amazing."

I just trusted him.

I just knew he had this vision.

What we ended up doing was kind of developing her songs and kind of just improvising.

Heath was very much a part of those sessions with Grace and Carlos, and, I mean, he financed it himself.

Heath came in one day to come and listen to how it was going.

We were working on a song.

We wanted a male vocal in there, and he was there, and I was like, "Why don't you do whatever comes to mind, like, just have a couple of takes and see what comes out," and Heath got all nervous, but he just... he almost became a character in that moment.

♪ Wheels keep on turning ♪

♪ Oh no ♪ And he just took on this persona, and he had this, like, incredible deep tone.

♪ Dee dee dee dee ♪ There she is, going through the door, teardrops falling from her fingernails.

She's hiding, gone forever, somewhere in a California dream.

Afterwards, he was like, "Is that okay?

Is that all right?"

I was, like, "Of course it is."

♪ I'm outta my mind ♪ He could do no wrong.

♪ I don't know where I'm goin' ♪

♪ There's not enough time ♪

♪ Yeah, the wheels keep on turnin' ♪

I would describe Heath's energy as being absolutely limitless.

He was tapping into something completely different.

That was just him.

He just had too much energy...

Too many thoughts, too much to do, too much creativity.

When you feel that good, you don't sleep.

He spent so many hours awake, it was like he was 50...

Based off living, awake years.

The stories I hear from all these different people, I'm like, "Man, he did that with you too?

He used to call you at this time?

He did that?"

How many people was he like that with?

We talked so many times a day, you know, on the phone, if we weren't in the same city.

If something caught fire with him, he would hit me in the morning with an idea, and he'd become, you know, mildly obsessive.

Midnight, one in the morning... and this was land lines, you know, in the day of like, you know, when people still had land lines, so it would be that loud, like, ring!

It's Heath.

Like... "Hey, man, can I call you at, like, eight?"

Or he'd show up for breakfast... show up at, like, six.

He'd be waiting outside my house at 5:30, 6:00 a.m., ready to go.

Like, literally, not a text, not a phone call...

Just "I'm at the gate."

He'd crash our breakfast.

He never slept. He never re...

His email...

His email was l'llberunningaround at something something dot com... and he always was.

You always wonder if people sense their own mortality.

Certain people have that power... and if anybody did, it was him.

Talked about Nick Drake, a musician that he was absolutely passionate about and wanted to tell his story, how he died and his process of creating music.

It was all about Nick Drake.

Heath was... I mean, he was gone.

He was all things Nick at that time.

I mean, he had every record.

He had interviews.

He was completely immersed in Nick Drake.

Always playing his music and talking about the visuals that he would put to this music.

It escalated more and more and became a huge passion for him.

He'd always had this thing for these artists, people who died at, like, 27, like Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin and this whole list of people.

At a young age, he was like, "I'm just like these people."

It was weird.

I remember him saying, "I've got a lot to do.

I don't feel like I have much time.

I just don't think I'm going to be around that long, so...

Don't know why.

I've just got to get things done now."

I guess our story together kind of chronicles his love life, his struggles with love and a relationship and they're trying to manage both his professional life and his private life.

It's a bit of a double-edged sword, I believe, 'cause a part of you wants to stay at home and do nothing for the rest of your life, but as soon as you're there, you want to get out and start working.

There's a fascination and an addiction to the lifestyle.

Heath brought something to the part, and it wasn't the movie star part that he brought.

There was a credibility and vulnerability to his performance.

He was always able to show his struggle or conflict in whatever character he played, that he personalized the performance.

Not with the girls.

Yes, Robbie.

No. Robbie!

You're not taking my kids!

Relationships happen. Relationships go wrong.

If you haven't been through it yet, you don't know how to adjust and cope, and then you're in the father position, partner position, and you're doing things that aren't quite right.

I'm Not There is really art imitating life in such a beautiful, painful way.

I feel he was struggling with being able to give Michelle and Matilda all the attention he wanted to.

Their breakup was tough enough.

I really felt the... for Michelle, a lot of stuff was projected on her.

It was pretty heartbreaking and upsetting.

Things were unraveling for Heath.

That whole idea of controlling your destiny, designing your destiny... the unraveling was not part of the design, and he couldn't control it.

So his lack of sleep and needing to sleep had a big effect on him.

He had to take medicated sleeping, which wasn't good for his body.

I ran into him in New York.

I hadn't seen him for a couple of years, and wow, Heath has... changed, but the way he has changed kind of, like, got me a little concerned, you know...

and I looked at him and I thought, wow...

with a bit of a concern, you know?

We had a few tough times together, like, sadnesses in life.

Music is absolutely healing.

Music was a way for him to heal himself.

Nick, can you play River of Life?

There you go. Yay!

River of Life.

If you asked Heath who he was, he would tell you he was an actor, he was a filmmaker, and he was a brother.

He was a brother to me, and to many.

I guess being friends with Heath, someone so big and glamorous and... action hero and all that stuff...

The fact that he carried that gentility in his heart and made that an active principle for himself gave me certain strength too...

And he would always encourage me.

Like, I'd see a wave coming, and he'd say, "Don't be afraid to fall..."

and that was a real important aspect of who Heath was.

He didn't have that kind of fear.

He was going to direct his first film, which was The Queen's Gambit, about a chess player.

His love of chess was, you know, legendary.

I always felt that he was five moves in front of me.

By the time he was 10 or 11 or so, it was pretty hard to actually beat him.

He was an amazing chess player, and it's something that we did every day.

Whether we were together or apart, we were playing chess online or chess face to face.

Heath was trying to achieve a grandmaster status and was only a few points away from achieving his goal.

When he read that story, Queen's Gambit, he thought, wow, this could be the right size film to take a bite and direct it.

So this is about a young chess player who is addicted to drugs, to pills.

He understood that story from inside out.

He wanted to use chess as a metaphor for the girl's life, and he had something to say.

There are many actors that want to direct that almost are the actor directing, but he had the ability to communicate his ideas that he could translate that into a filmic story.

The only time that I'm alive and living and expressing and feeling and relating is when I'm on-set in that time between "Action" and "Cut."

I called Heath, and I said, you know, "This is what's happening.

They're putting together the next Batman film, and the Joker's going to be the villain, and, you know, is that of interest?"

And I remember him, you know, it was like... there was no pause.

It was like, "Absolutely.

I want that. How do I... you know, what do we do?

I'll get on a plane. I'll fly out.

I want to meet with Chris," you know.

"Can you get me in a room with Chris Nolan?"

I'd already seen this world he'd created in Batman Begins, and so I knew there was an opportunity for a new version of the Joker, and that excited me, and I also knew instantly what to do.

So we had about a month, roughly two months.

He had already started to occupy the character.

I locked myself away for six weeks in a room, and I kind of came up with this creep.

Walk around like a madman and finding posture, finding stance.

Finding his voice is very important, because when you find the voice you find the breath within the voice.

It's like, man, the Joker, though.

Jack Nicholson did the Joker, man.

I said, "How do you tackle that, like, without just doing a version of Jack?

I mean, how do you even talk or laugh or..."

I was sitting there, walking, just thinking, and I suddenly hear, "Do you want to know how I got these scars?"

I'm like... I look at him, and he's kind of walking, holding his shirt, and he's like, "My daddy was a drinker and a fiend," and he gives me this look, and... man, goosebumps, chills run down me, and he does that little monologue for me.

"Why so serious?" he finishes.

I was just, "Holy..." and I jump into the street.

Whoo! Yelled it out.

I'm punching him in the chest, and he's like, "Don't tell anyone."

He turns to me, and he says, why so serious?

He comes at me with the knife.

"Why so serious?"

He sticks the blade in my mouth.

"Let's put a smile on that face," and...

Why so serious?

When we were shooting the scene where he comes into the party, there was a crowd that side of the camera and this side of the camera.

It was a very large crowd, so... he didn't expect it to be so big.

He said, "This feels like walking onto a stage.

I wasn't prepared for so many people.

How do I play this?"

And I said, "Well... well, you're a psychopath, so they're your toys.

You play with your toys."

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

We are tonight's entertainment.

I only have one question.

Where is Harvey Dent?

You know where Harvey is? Do you know who he is?

That's another trademark of the actor that Heath had become.

He was able to chuck his vanity, and I think his conception of the Joker did show him kind of warts and all, and he did it on his own in the makeup trailer, and it was very simple.

All it was, was just, like, a wash of white pancake makeup and some smear of red lips.

The prosthetics came up onto the lip and feathered onto the lip, so it was almost halfway into the mouth, and, of course, when you speak, the feathering of the prosthetics became loosened, and the last thing Heath wanted to do was to go back and spend another 20 minutes or half an hour trying to get the lips glued back again, so he licked... he licked his lips... a lot... and then, slowly, that became a part of the character.

He knew that he had something that was amazing.

He had put all this work into it, and he was actually enjoying the work.

Everyone, every sound technician, every producer, was floored by what he was doing in The Dark Knight.

People would be scurrying up to screens, trying to get glimpses on-set, just because they knew when he was on, it was on.

He felt for the first time, as an actor, that he was like, "I'm untouchable.

Every scene I do with any other actor, it doesn't matter how amazing they are.

I'm controlling and leading these scenes."

He was so confident, and he was so proud of that role.

He was really excited for that film to come out.

He was... it was the first time I'd heard him in a long time being excited about, like, "this role I've nailed."

You've changed things... forever.

Then why do you want to kill me?

I don't want to kill you!

What would I do without you?

Go back to ripping off mob dealers?

No, no.


No, you... you complete me.

You're garbage who kills for money.

Don't talk like one of them.

You're not... even if you'd like to be.

To them, you're just a freak... like me.

When he wasn't working, he would come to set and observe and watch Chris

'cause he was so enamored with, you know, Chris as a director and wanted to learn as much as he could about what he was building and what he was doing.

A lot of people like to think that it was a strenuous process for him, but he would come off the set, and we'd chat, and we'd have a laugh and joke, and we had more fun than was, um... than was respectable for hardworking artists.

It was the most fun I've had with a character, hands down.

Creatively, it was just... it was too good to be true.

It was Christmas, and my whole family, we were having this wonderful great big dinner.

He came and surprised us, as he loved to do.

He'd shown me some snippets of him as the Joker, and, I mean, I was blown away.

I couldn't believe it, and I just said to him, you know, "This is amazing.

This is, like, taking it to the next level.

Like, you're going to be nominated for this, I'm telling you right now," and he just smiled.

Heath was over the moon about the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight.

He was very pleased with the way it was going and the input that he had into that character.

It was after the dinner, and he kind of, like, leaned over at one point and said, "Oh, by the way, I'm taking you back to London with me," and I was like, "What?" and my mom was like, "What?"

"Oh, no, here we go again."

It was his time to take his little sister, introduce her to the entertainment world.

Heath was in the best place of his life.

He had a kid who he loved and adored.

He was making the films he wanted to make.

He had big plans for his future.

In three weeks' time, I start filming with Terry Gilliam, and I'd really do any...

I'd cut carrots and serve the catering on a Gilliam film.

I really, really love the guy, and so... yeah, I'm doing The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, and then I'll drop to the ground, dead, for a year, and hibernate.

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus...

I was able to work with him for two weeks on, in freezing cold London, in all the night shoots, in all of its glory.

We were on Blackfriars Bridge... bitterly cold.

He spent most of the night hanging off the bridge, having rain poured on him... so he was very wet.

I'm not sure that helped him.

A lot of the crew were fighting colds and whatnot, but I do just remember Gerry saying he had the strength of a horse, I think is what he said.

His body was tired, I know.

He was tired.

He developed a bad flu, and that exhausted him.

We were staying in the same apartment.

I would wake, I'd hear him wandering around, and sometimes he'd come into my room, and we had the conversation that the sleeping medication wasn't really helping him sleep.

At times, he would say, "I'm just having a hard time kind of, you know, laying it down at the end of the day and not thinking about stuff."

I knew the pressures that were in his life.

I knew he was sick.

I knew he had pneumonia.

I knew he had these long flights from London to New York.

We were about to wrap up in London.

He had sent myself and his assistant, Nathan, ahead to prep the apartment for when we were going to all be there, and...

I hadn't talked to him all morning, and it was pretty rare, and I was getting concerned.

I kept texting, saying, "Hey, what's up?

Where are you? What's going on?"

And, honestly, he would've texted back or called me back in almost any situation... any situation, except if he was... you know...

♪ Someday my pain ♪ And I put my BlackBerry down on the desk, and, um...

I kind of just stared at it...

♪ Harness your blame ♪ And then the phone rang, and it was his publicist, Mara Buxbaum, and, um, and she was crying.

And I called his dad, and his dad's phone was off, and I called his mum, and she was trying to find out information, so I called one of our friends in New York to see if she could go to his house, and she was like, "Trev, I'm here, and I can't get in," and that's when reality kicked in.

♪ Send it farther on ♪ More texts from different people start rolling in.

I'm like, "No, no, no, no, someone's messing with me," and I actually called the phone, and it rung out.

I wanted to say, "Please call me back.

Please call me back," you know, but I just froze and hung up.

I got a call from a friend, and right away, I knew something awful had happened.

I did call his phone a few times.

The world did find out before we did.

It will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I guess we're no different from anyone else that loses a child or loses somebody suddenly... the only difference being is that we had to live our feelings out in the public eye.

It was our boy, and it was the world's moment, and our private moment, but it was something that we had to share, and sharing that... across the world was so hard, you know?

That was a very sad day. It was.

♪ What might have been lost ♪ I just got up and went home.

I just hid.

♪ What might have been lost ♪

♪ What might have been lost ♪ I was shooting a music video on a day that he died.

I was in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with Justin, who is Bon Iver.

I saw that I had, like, 35 messages on my phone.

♪ Don't bother me What might have been ♪ I just heard what sounded like crying...

and Matt told me that his friend Heath had passed away, and I just held him for the longest time, and I just told him, "Whatever you need to do, man, we're here for you."

This person that I just met just had lost somebody so important to them.

It was no longer about making a Bon Iver music video anymore.

This was now our chance to be there with Matt as he grieved.

♪ What might have been lost ♪ It was a three-day...wake.

♪ Don't bother me ♪ I was deeply sad, but Heath didn't want me to be sad.

He wanted to see me smile all the time, and he couldn't have possibly given me more in my life, and I'm very lucky.

Out of these three days that I spent with Matt, I got the next five years of my life.

I started writing all these words down, some of these visions that Matt would kind of tell me about Heath growing up in Australia, and the words ended up being the first song there, and I called it "Perth."

It's still hard when people talk about it, and people have preconceived ideas about how... surrounding that period of time.

It's, you know... but that's what people do, you know?

They come up with their version of it that makes it convenient and tidy and, you know, and also tells a good story.

The truth is, he was super happy and was loving life, and he struggled with some demons, but he wasn't wanting to go anywhere but forward.

His heart was just incredibly beautiful.

Fearless in how he loved and how he opened his heart.

He was seeing the world in a way that the rest of us didn't, and in a way that the rest of us couldn't, and time and convention meant absolutely nothing to him.

He had this light around him.

Wherever he went, he shone light on people.

It made their lives better.

♪ Not yet awake ♪ All our lives were better for him being around... and we still talk about it now.

♪ Still alive who you love ♪

♪ Still alive who you love ♪

♪ Still alive ♪ We are lucky that he completed so much in his life that not only he is proud of, but it's left for his little girl, Matilda, to see what her daddy was and how creative and artistic he was.

There's all of this footage of him.

There's these films that she gets to watch and be proud of who her father was.

I have no doubt that he could've done innumerable more extraordinary performances and given those gifts to the world.

♪ So I'm ridding all your stories ♪ In Chinese, we call it "God envy," a person so talented that even God envy him.

♪ You're breaking your ground ♪ The trajectory he went on in such a short time was extraordinary.

Do you look at this and think to yourself, "Somebody's maybe making an impressionistic film about my life someday?"

In not maybe this year, but in 10 years from now?

Um, wow, I haven't given it any thought, no.

I haven't, and, um, I think it would be a pretty boring movie.