Author Topic: Heath Ledger - News Accounts  (Read 346615 times)

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #670 on: February 17, 2008, 11:04:49 am »
This is a few weeks old, but I don't think I posted it. Heath's comments in the last paragraph are interesting...and sad. From the Boston Herald:

Ledger exuded passion for plunging into big, ‘Dark’ roles

By Stephen Schaefer  |   Friday, January 25, 2008  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Movie News


Heath Ledger, the 28-year-old Oscar-nominated actor who died suddenly Tuesday, stood out in Hollywood for his lack of ego and pretension.

Last November, in what was to be the last time we would talk, Ledger seemed unusually impassioned as he spoke about life, loyalty and why he jumped at the chance to play the Joker in the July Batman sequel, “The Dark Knight.”

“I would have actually played the Joker if the budget for ‘Dark Knight’ were $100,000,” he said of the $200 million movie. “This character was truly just too good to turn down.”

He was equally passionate about why he was working again with Terry Gilliam, whose “The Brothers Grimm” starred Ledger and Matt Damon. Ledger was filming Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” when he died.

“Since then we’ve stayed and developed a really personal, close friendship and trust. I would cut carrots and serve the catering on a Gilliam film. I really love the guy,” he said.

“For me, the only time I’m alive, living, expressing, feeling and relating is when I’m on set. It’s that time between ‘Action’ and ‘Cut.’ That’s the only thing that is really important, how that experience is, and how that experience will affect my life. I want to enjoy myself, work with good people, creatively, and as really just good people.”

He called Gilliam “One of the greatest, creative, visionary minds ever in film history. He’s a wonderful figure in my life. He cast me in ‘The Brothers Grimm’ when no one wanted to work with me at that stage in my career. The company even, once Terry brought me on board, didn’t even want me in the film. They tried to replace me and Terry said, ‘No, I’m not doing the movie without him.’ For some odd reason he stuck with me.”

But winning roles can take a personal toll.

“It’s heartbreaking in a sense,” he said. “The inconsistency of your social life, clocking in and checking in with your friends, and getting back a routine with your family. Getting back to life, and washing, doing the dishes, maintaining your household and commuting. Then that just being chopped off. You are away from everyone, and everything, for seven months. You come back and try to rekindle it again, only to have it taken away a year later. It can be really tiring. It can be really lonely. It can be all these things but we still do it. It’s what we love. There is something that drives us to it, or away from it. Or there is a fascination or addiction to the lifestyle as well, I think.”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/movies/general/view.bg?articleid=1068796

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Offline Meryl

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #671 on: February 17, 2008, 01:33:34 pm »
From the New York Times:

February 17, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Will Be Hounded by the Media


By ALEX WILLIAMS

A VIDEO of Heath Ledger hanging out at a drug-fueled party two years before his death would seem to constitute must-see material for a tabloid entertainment show.

But when such a video ended up in the hands of the producers of “Entertainment Tonight,” the program declined to broadcast it, a spokeswoman said, “out of respect for Heath Ledger’s family.” The 28-year-old actor died on Jan. 22 from what the medical examiner called an accidental overdose of prescription medications.

Amy Winehouse did not merit the same discretion. Images from a video that showed her smoking what a British tabloid, The Sun, said was a pipe of crack cocaine, as well as admitting to having taken “about six” Valium, were widely disseminated in the news media around the same time.

When Owen Wilson was hospitalized in August after an apparent suicide attempt, his plight was the subject of a single US Weekly cover story. Not so Britney Spears, recently confined in a psychiatric ward, who has inspired six cover stories for the magazine during the same time span.

When Kiefer Sutherland was released from the jail in Glendale, Calif., after serving a 48-day sentence for a drunken driving conviction, the event merited little more than buried blurbs.

Contrast this to Paris Hilton’s return to jail last year after a brief release to serve the rest of a 45-day sentence for a probation violation involving alcohol-related reckless driving. The event invited a level of attention that evoked the O. J. Simpson trial. Hordes of cameras enveloped the limousine that ferried the tear-streaked heiress to jail.

Yes, women are hardly the only targets of harsh news media scrutiny — just ask Mel Gibson. But months of parallel incidents like these seem to demonstrate disparate standards of coverage. Men who fall from grace are treated with gravity and distance, while women in similar circumstances are objects of derision, titillation and black comedy.

Some celebrities and their handlers are now saying straight out that the news media have a double standard.

“Without a doubt, women get rougher treatment, less sensitive treatment, more outrageous treatment,” said Ken Sunshine, a publicist whose clients include Ben Affleck and Barbra Streisand. “I represent some pretty good-looking guys, and I complain constantly about the way they’re treated and covered. But it’s absolutely harder for the women I represent.”

Liz Rosenberg, a publicist at Warner Bros./Reprise Records who represents Madonna, among others, also thinks sexism is at work. “Do you see them following Owen Wilson morning, noon and night?” she asked.

Some editors confirm that they handle female celebrities differently. But the reason, they say, is rooted not in sexism, but in the demographics of their audience.

The readership of US Weekly, for example, is 70 percent female; for People, it’s more than 90 percent, according to the editors of these magazines.

“Almost no female magazines will put a solo male on the cover,” said Janice Min, the editor in chief of US Weekly. “You just don’t. It’s cover death. Women don’t want to read about men unless it’s through another woman: a marriage, a baby, a breakup.”

Thus, magazine coverage of Mr. Ledger’s death gave way to stories about Michelle Williams, Mr. Ledger’s former girlfriend and the mother of his daughter; US Weekly, for instance, put the headlines “A Mother’s Pain” and “My Heart is Broken” atop a four-page spread. Mary-Kate Olsen, telephoned several times by the discoverer of Mr. Ledger’s body, came in for it, too: “What Mary-Kate Knows” trumpeted In Touch Weekly.

Indeed, while one of People’s best-selling issues of the last year was its cover story on Mr. Wilson’s suicide attempt, a follow-up cover on his recovery was one of the worst sellers, said Larry Hackett, the managing editor.

Conversely, he said, the Britney Spears story continues to flourish precisely because women are fascinated by the challenges facing a young mother.

“If Britney weren’t a mother, this story wouldn’t be getting a fraction of attention it’s getting,” Mr. Hackett said. “The fact that the custody of her children is at stake is the fuel of this narrative. If she were a single woman, bombing around in her car with paparazzi following, it wouldn’t be the same.”

Others, like Roger Friedman, an entertainment reporter for FoxNews.com, said that female stars tend to make more-compelling stories because “they are more emotional and open” about their problems. Male stars, he said, tend to be “circumspect.”

Rebecca Roy, a psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, Calif., who has several clients in the entertainment industry, said that male celebrities can often wriggle out of trouble with a rakish bad-boy shrug. But, she said, the double standard can reinforce the destructive behavior of female stars, pushing them to further depths of substance abuse and erratic behavior.

Ms. Roy said that troubled male stars like Robert Downey Jr. are encouraged to move past problems to a second act in their careers, while the personal battles of women like Lindsay Lohan or the late Anna Nicole Smith are often played for maximum entertainment value.

“With men, there’s an emphasis on, ‘he had this issue, but he’s getting over it,’ ” Ms. Roy said. “But with women, it’s like they keep at it, keep at it. It’s almost like taking the wings off of a fly.”

Ms. Min acknowledged that her magazine played down its coverage of Owen Wilson and Heath Ledger. Part of the reason, she said, was that female readers tend to be sympathetic toward young men in crisis.

“With Heath Ledger, people walked on eggshells trying to strike the right tone,” Ms. Min said, adding that “public sentiment for Heath Ledger factored into our coverage.”

Edna Herrmann, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, said that while schadenfreude is part of the enjoyment of star travails, women especially respond to female celebrities with commonplace demons. “Misery likes company,” Dr. Herrmann said.

But some believe the power of a celebrity’s publicist has more bearing on coverage than gender. “Entertainment Tonight” reversed its plans to show the video of Mr. Ledger following protests from stars like Natalie Portman and Josh Brolin organized by ID, which represented Mr. Ledger and still represents Ms. Williams.

In some cases, celebrities may be victims of their own appetites for media attention.

“It would seem to me that no one who demanded, who expected privacy, at the get-go was denied that privacy,” said Stan Rosenfield, a publicist who represents George Clooney.

And Harvey Levin, the managing editor of the gossip Web site TMZ.com, said that female stars are afforded every opportunity to move past their sins, as long as they clean up their behavior.

“Nicole Richie, who took a beating generally for being a screw-up, has turned it around, and everyone’s cheering for her now,” Mr. Levin said of the former Paris Hilton sidekick and tabloid staple, now the mother of a month-old daughter.

Even if news media coverage is weighted in their favor, male celebrities aren’t exactly feeling immune from harsh scrutiny.

“There is certainly an argument for it being incredibly sexist, the attention that’s given to women and the hounding of them,” the actor Colin Farrell said at a recent party for his new film, “In Bruges.”

Mr. Farrell, who has attracted his share of attention, said such potential bias did not make him any less of a news media target. “If they catch me out and about,” he said, “they’ll go for it.”

As Mr. Farrell spoke in a room filled with journalists and photographers, he was not even sipping a beer.

I'm disappointed that a respected paper like the New York Times would leave out the truth about ET being forced to withdraw their story because of industry pressure, leaving the impression that ET exercised a lot more discretion than they had intended to in the matter of the drug party video.  >:(

And the quote from US Weekly editor Min gives a similar impression of "respect."  This is the publication that went with this cover story that implied that Heath overdosed on illegal drugs.  Inside was the false story of Michelle driving him to rehab.  >:(
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #672 on: February 17, 2008, 03:02:10 pm »
I'm disappointed that a respected paper like the New York Times would leave out the truth about ET being forced to withdraw their story because of industry pressure, leaving the impression that ET exercised a lot more discretion than they had intended to in the matter of the drug party video.  >:(

Well, they did say:

Quote
“Entertainment Tonight” reversed its plans to show the video of Mr. Ledger following protests from stars like Natalie Portman and Josh Brolin organized by ID, which represented Mr. Ledger and still represents Ms. Williams.

I thought it was an interesting story. I think there definitely is some sexism and a double standard involved in the way those bad girls are covered -- girls aren't "supposed to" do that stuff. But the point is well made that a lot of it is influenced by what readers want to read -- I was interested in the part about women wanting to read about women, not men.

And there are other complicating factors. For example, I can't imagine a magazine cover story about Kiefer Sutherland flying of the stands the way stories about Paris and Britney do; he's not as glamorous, so people just aren't as interested in him. And the men's exploits tend to be a bit lower-profile; as far as we know, Keifer didn't get photographed underwearless at any point, or walk into a barbership and shave his own head.

And finally the men are more talented and respected. One of the reasons those girls get treated that way is they're not considered particularly talented, with the possible marginal exception of Lindsay Lohan. Heath was saved from a lot more bad publicity when other actors and directors stood up for him as a talented, intelligent actor who should be treated with respect. Same thing for Owen Wilson. Nobody does that for Paris or Britney.


Offline j.U.d.E.

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #673 on: February 17, 2008, 03:07:46 pm »
He called Gilliam “One of the greatest, creative, visionary minds ever in film history. He’s a wonderful figure in my life. He cast me in ‘The Brothers Grimm’ when no one wanted to work with me at that stage in my career. The company even, once Terry brought me on board, didn’t even want me in the film. They tried to replace me and Terry said, ‘No, I’m not doing the movie without him.’ For some odd reason he stuck with me.”


I am happy to read that Terry Gilliam stuck with Heath!

Why does Heath say nobody wanted to work with him? Why was that?

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Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #674 on: February 18, 2008, 02:33:44 am »
From Adelaide Now:

Februar 18th, 2008

Tropfest shares stage with Ledger

Article from AAP


UPCOMING filmmakers at this year's Tropfest short film festival have shared a Sydney stage with a tribute for Heath Ledger.

Thousands gathered in Sydney's Domain last night for the screening of the festival's 16 finalists, won by 34-year-old expectant mother and director Michelle Lehman, who hoped the win wouldn't send her into labour.

Lehman's entry, Marry Me, took the top prize at the 16th annual Tropfest, billed as the world's largest short film festival.

"Oh my God, I hope this doesn't send me into labour," a delighted Ms Lehman said as she accepted her award.

The film, described as a little love story, was inspired by Ms Lehman's childhood and her memory of chasing a boy around a schoolyard.

"I used to chase Jason Mahooney around school in my mum's nightie, which I used as a wedding dress," Ms Lehman said.

"He never wanted to marry me ... I'm glad about that now."

Ms Lehman, who is eight months pregnant with her first child, said she had been in the Tropfest audience for years but this was the first time she had submitted an entry.

About 15 people were involved with the production of Marry Me, but there were five "main players", said Ms Lehman of her $5000 short.

The Tropfest first prize, presented by Australian screen star Geoffrey Rush, includes a film scholarship trip to the US, with a program of meetings with industry agents and executives.

"Baby or no baby, it won't stop me from going to the US," Ms Lehman said. "I've got a very supportive husband who is also a filmmaker."

In other Tropfest awards, Mark Constable's entry, Uncle Jonny, took second place, while Great White Hunters, directed by Gary Doust, was third.

Before the award presentation tonight, there was a two-minute video tribute to Heath Ledger, who was found dead in his Manhattan apartment last month.

Earlier in the night fellow actor Rush had remembered Ledger.

"He is one of our brothers, he is one of our clan and I had the great fortune to work with him on two films and knew him a little bit socially," Rush told The Daily Telegraph. "We are going to miss him."

Ledger's former girlfriend, Naomi Watts, was a judge and presenter at the festival.

A quietly spoken Watts did not comment on Ledger and did not speak to reporters on her way into tonight's event.


A NSW teenager was named the inaugural winner of Trop Jr, a new part of the festival.

Sixteen-year-old Guy Verge Wallace created Poor Joshua Verde last year when he was 15.

The film is about a boy with a tragic childhood who goes on an enchanting adventure that helps him reconnect with his family and use his creative talent, Tropfest said.

Guy said Tropfest was one of the most exciting things he'd been involved in.

"I had a great time making the film and I want to thank all my friends and family, my sister Lucinda and my parents. This is amazing," he said.


Source: http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23231348-5005962,00.html

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #675 on: February 18, 2008, 02:45:12 am »
From Harald Sun:

Februar 18, 2008

Heath Ledger tribute at Tropfest

Article from AAP

A SPECIAL tribute to Heath Ledger has been screened at the Tropfest short film festival in Sydney where the Australian actor's ex-girlfriend Naomi Watts helped judge entries from rising filmmakers.


Before naming winners from a group of 16 short-listed entries, proceedings paused to remember the 28-year-old star who was found dead in his Manhatta apartment on January 22.

"The Australian film industry lost someone very, very special a few weeks ago," Tropfest founder and creative director John Polson told the crowd in Sydney's Domain.

"I didn't know Heath Ledger very well, but I did meet him a few times.

"Everything you have read about his tragic death is true ... He was an enormously talented actor, really just beginning to realise his potential.

"His death is an incredible loss and we at Tropfest send our deepest sympathy to his family."

A two-minute video tribute to Ledger then played on the huge Tropfest screen, including glimpses of the actor from his roles in Brokeback Mountain and A Knight's Tale.

Watts, who once dated Ledger, took to the stage to present the inaugural Balance Water Women in Film Award.

A quietly spoken Watts did not comment on Ledger and did not speak to reporters on her way into tonight's event.

However, Australian actor Geoffrey Rush who presented Tropfest's first prize, did acknowledge him.

"He is one of our brothers, he is one of our clan and I had the great fortune to work with him on two films and knew him a little bit socially," Rush said.

"We are going to miss him."


Source: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23231313-29277,00.html

Offline smellykellyjay

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #676 on: February 18, 2008, 06:24:36 am »
. . . I also tend to trust People *slightly* more than some of the other celebrity magazines.

This reminds me of a scene from "Golden Girls" where the girls were shopping at the grocery store.  At the checkout, Blanche got copies of TIME, NEWSWEEK, and "to really know what's going on in the world," PEOPLE.  My memory of it is hazy, but I think that's the gist of it. 
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Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #677 on: February 18, 2008, 01:49:34 pm »
From New York Magazine:


(Untitled Heath Ledger Project)

In which the protagonist dies mysteriously, and the audience analyzes his final days for clues to his real character.

By Chris Norris
Published Feb 18, 2008

http://nymag.com/news/features/44217/

It is a long article, so I am just giving the link, not posting the whole thing, as I usually do.

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Offline ptannen

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #678 on: February 20, 2008, 02:21:21 am »
I can't seem to find the article that this thread linked to that included this line, but it is something that really stuck with me:

"He may even be a role for some other promising young actor."
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Offline LauraGigs

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Re: Heath Ledger - News Accounts
« Reply #679 on: February 20, 2008, 02:32:45 am »
Yes, just a week or so before Heath died I saw "Hollywoodland", which is about the death of George Reeves, and included reenactments of it (the different possible scenarios).  It was relatively tastefully done (sympathetic to him and not graphic — way less so than a lot of TV these days), but still.  I imagine a few years from now Ledger's passing will be considered fair game for such dramatization, but hope there will be considerable pressure against it.