Author Topic: Heath Ledger - News Accounts  (Read 423213 times)

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #1030 on: May 23, 2009, 07:40:29 pm »

Heya,
I wanted to alert folks that Entertainment Tonight did a long bio segment on Heath tonight.  Lots of old interviews and outtakes.  They did a decent job with the segment, but there really isn't any new news in the segment.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline LauraGigs

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Huge Heath Story in Upcoming VF
« Reply #1031 on: June 29, 2009, 01:29:14 pm »
Heath Ledger's Final Days, His Last Role, His Devotion To His Daughter, And His Demons

First Posted: 06-29-09 10:51 AM   |   Updated: 06-29-09 11:03 AM

Vanity Fair has a feature on Heath Ledger's last days working on "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." To read the whole article you'll have to buy the August issue of the magazine, as a short summary is available online.

A press release summarizing its contents is below:


NEW YORK, N.Y.--Vanity Fair contributing editor Peter Biskind writes about the remarkable talent and untimely death of actor Heath Ledger, reporting on the actor's final movie role, his ambivalence about Hollywood, his devotion to his young daughter, and what happened at the end of his life as he was battling chronic insomnia, pneumonia, and exhaustion.
_________________________________________


Cinematographer Nicola Pecorini, who worked with Ledger on his last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and compares Ledger to "a young Richard Burton," tells Biskind that once Ledger's drug use became an issue--"He used to smoke marijuana on a regular basis, like probably 50 percent of Americans," he says--Ledger "went clean as a whistle." And vocal coach Gerry Grennell, who worked and lived with the actor during the filming of The Dark Knight, says, "Heath would happily go to the bar, buy a round of drinks for friends, and come back and have a soda or juice, never once drinking alcohol."

But Grennell does tell Biskind that Ledger's use of sleeping medication to combat chronic insomnia at the end of his life concerned him. "I'd say, 'If you can possibly bear it to stop taking the medications, do, because they don't seem to be doing you any good.' He agreed. It is very difficult for me to imagine how close he came to not taking them."

Ledger would typically spend night after night awake, diverting himself with time killers, Biskind reports, such as re-arranging the furniture in whatever space he happened to be living in at the moment. Grennell coached him in the Alexander Technique, which helped him to sleep for a few hours at a time, but he still struggled.

Everyone has a different view of how he passed away," Grennell tells Biskind. "From my perspective, and knowing him as well as I did, and being around him as much as I was, it was a combination of exhaustion, sleeping medication ... and perhaps the aftereffects of the flu. I guess his body just stopped breathing."

Terry Gilliam--Ledger's friend and mentor, and the director of Doctor Parnassus--and Pecorini agree that the romance between Ledger and his former partner, actress Michelle Williams, began to unravel during the Oscar campaign for Brokeback Mountain. "The whole machinery started growing up around them," Gilliam says. "That was the moment when it changed, when he realized, Uh-oh. We perceive the world differently. He didn't care about things like those awards."

According to Pecorini, "Heath was always blaming himself [about the relationship], asking, What did I do wrong?" Adds Gilliam, "Because he's a much nicer person than I am, he really thought he could do the right thing. He was trying to be decent and graceful, give her whatever she wanted--the house, every fucking thing. But once it started going south, it went very quickly. He was overwhelmed by lawyers, and there were more and more of them, as if they were breeding. I said, 'This is bullshit. Heath, just end it. Get out--it's bad. You've got to just walk away from it.' The stakes kept going up. He wouldn't listen to any of us."

As Ledger's relationship with Williams unraveled, and the pair started dealing with lawyers and custody issues, according to Gilliam, Ledger fell apart. "The thing that really made Heath snap" was legal wrangling over his daughter, Matilda, Gilliam says. "He said, 'Just fuck all of you! I'm not giving Michelle anything.' " Recalls another source, when it came to Matilda's care, "there were definitely heated conversations, and emotions were high." (Ledger's lawyer declined to comment on any aspect of the separation or custody dispute.)

The strife in his personal life coincided with the Parnassus shoot, but rather than distract him from his work Gilliam believes it helped him concentrate on the task at hand, he tells Biskind. Ledger appeared one day on set "clearly bloody sick," Gilliam says. The doctor told him it was the beginning of pneumonia and that he ought to take antibiotics and go home and rest. According to Gilliam, Ledger said, "No way. I'm not going to go home, because I can't sleep, and I'll be just thinking about the situation. I'd rather stay here and work."

Although "he would arrive in the morning completely knackered," Gilliam says, "by the end of the day he was beaming, glowing with energy. It was like everything was put into the work, because that was the joy; that's what he loved to do. The words were just pouring out. It was like he was channeling."

Ledger's friend and agent, Steven Alexander, tells Biskind that Heath "was always hesitant to be in a summer blockbuster, with the dolls and action figures and everything else that comes with one of those movies. He was afraid it would define him and limit his choices." According to friends of Ledger's, one of the reasons he agreed to do The Dark Knight was that it would be such a long shoot it would give him an excuse to turn down other offers. Alexander tells Biskind that Ledger had a pay-or-play deal on The Dark Knight--meaning he'd get compensated no matter what--so he felt he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted as the Joker. According to Pecorini, Ledger hoped his performance would be so far-out he'd be fired, and thus become the beneficiary of a lengthy, paid vacation.

"He was ready to bust out of the gate, but he didn't want to step on the gas and become something that he didn't want to become: a matinee idol," says Alexander. "He was a private person, and he didn't want to share his personal history with the press. It just wasn't up for sale. That's part of the reason he initially tore down his career. He wasn't motivated by money or stardom, but by the respect of his peers, and for people to walk out of a movie theater after they'd seen something that he'd worked on and say, 'Wow, he really disappeared into that character.' He was striving to become an 'illusionist,' as he called it, able to create characters that weren't there."


The August issue of Vanity Fair hits newsstands in New York and Los Angeles July 1 and nationally July 7.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/29/heath-ledgers-final-days_n_222282.html

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #1032 on: June 29, 2009, 02:54:47 pm »
Thanks Laura.


Vanitiy Fair has a portfolio with some well-known and plenty new Heath pics from the Bruce Weber shoot online. I posted the ones which were new to me over on HHH, and here's the link to VF:

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/08/heath-ledger-portfolio200908?slide=1#globalNav

Offline Kerry

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #1033 on: July 05, 2009, 03:06:45 am »
Michelle Break-Up Made Heath "Snap"

Article from: The Sunday Telegraph

By Claire Harvey

July 05, 2009


http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,25734036-5001026,00.html

HEATH Ledger's ugly split with partner Michelle Williams made the actor "snap" in the last weeks of his life, according to American magazine Vanity Fair.

Insomnia and prescription medication turned Ledger to despair before his death in January, 2008, friends and colleagues have told the magazine in a profile that reveals the true depth of Ledger's unhappiness.

The custody battle over daughter Matilda, born in 2005, left Ledger edgy, depressed and unable to sleep to the point where he "snapped", according to Terry Gilliam, who directed Ledger's last film, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus.

The magazine also reveals Ledger's insecurity, even suggesting he wanted to be kicked off the set of the Batman film The Dark Knight, deliberately overacting to provoke director Christopher Nolan.

Distress over the break-up and fears about his talent led him to avoid working, and he had told friends one of the reasons he agreed to star in the Batman film The Dark Knight was "that it would be such a long shoot it would give him an excuse to turn down other offers".

"The first thing he would do was pass on almost everything that came to him," said his friend and agent Steve Alexander.

"Or he would commit to things and then walk away from them. As much as he wanted to work, there was a part of him that was always looking for a reason not to work.

"He was always afraid, insecure about could he nail it. Then finally he would come around and embrace the challenge."

Nicola Pecorini, the cinematographer on Doctor Parnassus, said Ledger told him he deliberately went over the top with the Joker character in The Dark Knight.

"According to Pecorini, Ledger hoped his performance would be so far out he'd be fired, and thus become the beneficiary of a lengthy, paid vacation," Vanity Fair says. It was exactly that over-the-top performance that won Ledger a best-actor Oscar, awarded after his death.

Ledger was reluctant to be involved in the Batman franchise, according to Steve Alexander.

"He was always hesitant to be in a summer blockbuster, with the dolls and action figures and everything else that comes with one of those movies," Alexander says.

The story says the Doctor Parnassus film, to be released in Europe in September and Australia on October 29, will give fresh insights into Ledger's development as an actor.

It has "the added advantage of showing (Ledger) reloaded or, better, unplugged. This final performance, while not the tour de force of weirdness that was the Joker, is good enough - more than good enough - to remind us that Ledger's death has deprived the movies of one of their most accomplished, and promising, talents."

Ledger's character in the film is a conman known as Tony Liar, whose name, Gilliam says, is a reference to former British prime minister Tony Blair.

Until now, little has been known about Ledger's split with Williams, with family members portraying it as amicable. Williams is now in a relationship with director Spike Jonze.

Gilliam reveals that Ledger and Williams fell out of love after the release of the film on which they met, Brokeback Mountain.

Their relationship began to mirror the dysfunctional marriage they portrayed on screen, with Ledger leaving Williams lonely and isolated while he spent time with his own friends.

Ledger came under increasing pressure to woo Oscar votes and discovered that Williams cared more about the accolades than he did, Gilliam said.

"That was the moment when it changed, when he realised, uh-oh, we perceive the world differently," Gilliam told Vanity Fair.

"He didn't care about things like those awards. He was trying to be decent and graceful, give her whatever she wanted . . . But once it started going south it went very quickly. He was overwhelmed by lawyers, and there were more and more of them, as if they were breeding."

According to Gilliam, Ledger eventually said: "Just f*** all of you! I'm not giving Michelle anything."

The custody dispute with Williams had one positive effect on Ledger, however: he gave up alcohol and the marijuana he had previously smoked regularly.

"With his chronic insomnia, Ledger would typically spend night after night awake, diverting himself with time-killers like rearranging the furniture in whatever space he happened to be living," Vanity Fair contributing editor Peter Biskind said.

Run-down and exhausted, Ledger turned to prescription drugs, massages and the Alexander Technique, a combination of posture and relaxation therapy.

His instructor, Gerry Grennell, told the magazine he had urged Ledger to give up the medications. "He agreed" in the last days of his life, Grennell said.

"It is very difficult for me to imagine how close he came to not taking them."

A masseuse found Ledger's body in his New York loft. An autopsy revealed drugs including Valium, Xanax, OxyContin, Vicodin and Restoril in his body.
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Offline MilAn

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #1034 on: July 05, 2009, 08:57:55 am »
Here are the scans of the whole Vanity Fair article:

http://www.imaginariumofdrparnassus.com/vanityfair

Offline Mikaela

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #1035 on: July 05, 2009, 09:40:04 am »
Ugh!!!   >:(

(and that's not directed at anyone here, but at Vanity Fair and its interviewees.)

Terry Gilliam obviously has an interest in deflecting criticism that he himself was partly at fault for driving Heath too hard at that Parnassus shoot,- Heath had pneumonia/the flu and he kept on going cause of Gilliam's shoot. Obviously part of the reason he was taking all those pills was exhaustion in connection with the illness and the shoot. If Gilliam was such a good friend perhaps he should have recognized something was amiss while he had the chance? I'm only saying this to point out that anything Gilliam now says should IMO not be taken as the gospel of truth, but to some extent as one party's self-defense.

That aside, neither Heath nor Michelle ever commented on their split and I think it's in the poorest of taste for "friends" to second-guess the events like this and particularly to place blame with Michelle for Heath's death, like these people really seem to go a long way in doing. Obviously the two of them didn't get along after a while since they split. Obviously that would have been emotional and difficult and must have taken its heavy toll on both. Falling out of love isn't ever easy. Obviously there would be discussions and disagreements concerning the best way forward for their daughter whom both of them loved. Nothing of that is uncommon or makes Michelle into some ogress. It's a normal process of splitting up, I'd say - and as much a I dearly love and respect Heath I've never entertained the notion he was easy to live with - especially after there was a baby around who required planning ahead and orderly conditions.

If indeed it is true that Michelle cared more for the Oscar hullaballoo than Heath, that doesn't make her a bad person. Nor does it say anyhing much about her level of Oscar campaigning, for there could hardly have been anyone less comfortable about all that than Heath. In fact, look at how Reese Witherspoon campaigned and fought tooth and nail for *her* Oscar that same season - now that is what I would consider *really* going for the win. Michelle never came remotely close to anything like that. It's normal to want accolades from one's peers. If this is true at all.

I feel really bad for Michelle that friends of Heath would go public with such stories. If they were true friends they would realize that Heath would above else have wanted Matilda to have a good and happy life. You don't make the child happy by malingning her mother and blaming her (indirectly) for her father's death. I hope nothing of this reaches Matilda's ears.

And there can't be any doubt that Matilda has been taken good care of and is a sweet and happy little girl, and that Michelle loves her. That's the one important thing. All this speculation about what exactly led to Heath's death is tasteless and unneccesary.

Ugh.

Offline KristinDaBomb

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #1036 on: July 14, 2009, 02:38:36 pm »
I don't really like Terry. He doesn't (from what I have read) treat women with the respect he treats men. Here he is blaming everything on Michelle Williams, and a couple years back, he blamed Lena Heady for the Brothers Grim being a box office failure. He is a dirtbag.
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Offline louisev

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #1037 on: July 14, 2009, 02:49:30 pm »
Gilliam isn't the only source for the opinion that Heath was locked in a frustrating and upsetting legal struggle with Michelle over gaining access to Matilda.  There was at least one story that surfaced shortly right after his death auoting another friend of his that he was frantic with fear over losing visiting access due to legal measure that Michelle was taking against him.  The speculation was that she was denying him access to Matilda due to his drug use.
“Mr. Coyote always gets me good, boy,”  Ellery said, winking.  “Almost forgot what life was like before I got me my own personal coyote.”


Offline Mikaela

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #1038 on: July 14, 2009, 03:22:00 pm »
Well, it may be true, every last word, for all I know.... but that still doesn't mean Gilliam or anyone else has any business dishing this dirt on a man who has passed away and his ex who very obviously won't come foward to comment no matter what slander or "truth" these people level at her and her relationship with her daughter's father.

Even if every word is true it reflects extremely poorly on Gilliam that he doesn't just keep his mouth shut - the main thing he risks is hurting Matilda, and whatever went on in Heath's life that was the last thing he'd ever have wanted.

Offline Monika

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #1039 on: July 14, 2009, 03:44:33 pm »
Oh, I really don´t like that article. What was Gilliam thinking? He only saw what was going on from one side. He has lost all my respect.