Author Topic: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...  (Read 179087 times)

mvansand76

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #170 on: February 18, 2008, 01:27:24 pm »
Thanks for posting that, Mel. I hadn't seen it before.

L

Me neither! Has anybody here read his book?

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #171 on: February 19, 2008, 08:49:47 am »
I haven't read the book, but I remembered how much I enjoyed this article when it first came out.

Meet Heath's mate, the real gay cowboy




March 4, 2006

The struggles of the characters in Brokeback Mountain were familiar ground to cowboy Adam Sutton. Neil McMahon writes.

IT WAS the script that changed Heath Ledger's life - and when he read Brokeback Mountain he knew he had a friend reflected in its pages.

I've just read this script, Ledger later told his mate, Adam Sutton, and it sounds a lot like you. It was a film about a gay cowboy, and the actor was right; Sutton knew more than a bit about that.

That was New Year's Eve 2003 in Sydney, and Sutton was celebrating with Ledger, his then girlfriend Naomi Watts and their families. He had met them a year earlier while working as a wrangler on the set of Ned Kelly, and though they didn't know it then, the actors were seeing in a year which would transform them - Watts with an Oscar nomination, while Ledger took on a film many would have baulked at. His roll of the dice paid off; a Best Actor Oscar on Monday could confirm the wisdom of the gamble.

But there is more to Brokeback Mountain than Ledger's elevation. A simple love story at its core, it has also become a lightning rod and a landmark.

Today's Mardi Gras parade will pay humorous homage and Monday's Oscars will no doubt produce one-liners - but it also has a point.

As Hollywood's first grand gay love story, it is a tale that gives expression to the lives of men like Sutton, who find catharsis, redemption and reflection in its shadow.

"The movie put me at ease in a way," says Sutton, a knockabout horseman from the Hunter Valley who was on set for part of the filming. "And I hope it puts a lot of people at ease, and takes the burden off a lot of country people's shoulders - to know that they are not alone with that thought. It does happen. As tough as it is, it does happen."

He's talking about being a gay man, being in the bush and being alone - and not knowing what to do with any of it, an anguish Ledger captures in his painfully constricted performance.

Sutton cried watching it, as well he might. There was pain and anger on screen, aggression, and love embraced, then denied and nearly destroyed. He understands them all.

In his world - the world of cowboys and rodeos, of stereotypes scarred in the earth and not to be trampled on - you couldn't be gay, and if you were, there was punishment. It could take the form of violence, of the kind that claims a character in the film, or it could be crippling self-hatred and denial.

There were many bad days, but Sutton's worst came in 1994. Ten months earlier he had been out drinking near the family

property. While driving home, he took a corner and lost control, collecting an oncoming car.

The young man in it died. A culpable driving charge followed, to which he pleaded guilty, and the day before he was sentenced he saw only one end to the agony.

He was just 19. He had known since primary school that he was different. "I didn't know what gay was."

Whatever his curse, he believed it could find neither expression nor acceptance. That alone tortured him beyond apparent resolution, and now a man was dead. Jail the next day was a certainty. He thought there was nowhere to go.

"It was all my fault."

He took himself up to a rocky outcrop near home; the plan was to jump. He weighed it, weeping all the while. But something stopped him and he pulled back. He walked home, slept, and woke to a six-month jail term.

In prison, a place he calls "the university of criminology", he found a whole other person within. It stopped him taking the master's degree in crime, and at the time his sexuality was the least concern.

"I just pushed it way, way, way down. It was gone."

On release, he went back to his parents' property, then embarked on a journey that was part denial, part discovery.

He travelled the country: first, to north Queensland, where he got a job on the prawn trawlers working the Torres Strait, then west, where he took to sea again on pearling boats, as well as working the mines and taking a job flying into Aboriginal missions, working on the power supply.

He would put everything but his heart at risk. He would dive into shark-infested waters to untangle a net in the middle of the night - but there's that kind of fear, and then there is real terror. He believed it was easier to hate himself than to be himself, and shut down that part of him for years. By nature he was a masculine, dare-devil journeyman, so he did what he had always done, surviving by the sheer force of his boisterous character. He was "the crazy bastard" - the maddest, bravest bloke in the room.

After a few years he returned to NSW, and recognised the one natural affinity he could build a life on: horses.

He started riding in rodeos - fearless again and with success, but continued personal denial. The rodeo world was horses, then girls. "You're meant to pull [women]. That's what you had to do." He did it, but it was hard work. "I was scared of letting anybody know me better. I hated myself. I never let anybody inside my little circle, to know me. That was my front. It was a fort."

The fort would eventually fall. First, he settled down, starting his own horse business - he would train them, retrain them, break them in, on one occasion even accepting a government mission to go bush to capture brumbies, then tame them.

This was a life - almost. He loved it and he thrived. Through word of mouth, in 2002 he got the gig as a wrangler on Ned Kelly, which took him to Victoria and a crowd he had never run with before. This was another world. When he injured himself at a crew party, his first hospital visitor was Orlando Bloom; along with Ledger and others, Sutton had given the actor riding lessons.

They were arty, worldly, Hollywood. He was far from it. Early on, he asked a woman from the set: "So what do you do?" She replied: "I'm the leading lady." It was Naomi Watts. Like Ledger, she'd soon come to know the larrikin wrangler as Bushy.

It was a turning point, and another came the next year when a close friend came out; Sutton took a step in the same direction, going to a gay bar on the Central Coast.

The previous, and only, time he'd been in one - by accident years earlier, with some cowboy mates in Sydney - he had been at his worst. He remembers a man hitting on him. "I broke the bloke's fingers. I was aggressive. I was homophobic. When you're crying out to be like that, you find yourself [becoming homophobic] to cover yourself to your mates."

This time he was braver. He went to the bar and met a gay couple who became friends and mentors. His fort was crumbling.

"I just want to love someone and be loved back," he'd tell his new mates. "I've never done it."

Three years on, he has. He can marvel that he has come so far, and look at the cultural impact of Brokeback Mountain and marvel that the world has come this far, too. He's telling his story - coming out on a grand scale - because the time is right: the movie, the Oscars, the Ledger connection. People will notice now, and gay kids in the country might hear him. His family embraces him still; he has his old friends and many new ones.

"It takes courage and it takes strength and it takes that inner person to take hold and not worry what Tom or Harry down the road thinks. But it's hard, you're standing on your own island, singing your own song."

And while he would not wish his earlier agonies on anyone, nor would he swap his past.

"I wouldn't have done the things I've done if I had come out earlier in life. It would have changed the paths I took and it wouldn't have been the same. That's what makes it your life."

http://www.smh.com.au/news/arts/meet-heaths-mate-the-real-gay-cowboy/2006/03/03/1141191845952.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1
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Offline louisev

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #172 on: February 21, 2008, 07:06:44 pm »
A wonderful article with long in-depth quotes from Ledger's friend and the last person to speak to him, Shekhar Kapur:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/02/23/bfkapur123.xml

Since Ledger's death, many grief-stricken fans have written to Kapur. "They've seen maybe one or two of his films, but they say they have been crying ever since he died. It's something like what happened with James Dean. After Heath's death, everybody realised that a really important soul had gone."
“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 j.U.d.E.

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #173 on: February 21, 2008, 08:31:45 pm »
That's a wonderful article from Kapur! Yes, an important soul has gone. Reading the article makes me realize - again - how horribly wrong Heath's death is
and how much Heath was happy about acting and about life (even with setbacks - separating from Michelle..). Damn it!  >:(

22nd of February 2008 - it's been a month today........   :'(

.. goodbye Heath ..



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Offline TOoP/Bruce

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #174 on: February 23, 2008, 08:49:24 pm »
http://www.observer.com/2008/british-heath-ledger-biography-will-be-available-u-s-june

Quote
British Heath Ledger Biography Will Be Available in U.S. in June
BY LEON NEYFAKH  |  FEBRUARY 1, 2008


A biography of Heath Ledger which will be published as a paperback in England in April, will be available in the U.S. in June, according to a spokesperson for Trafalgar Square Publishing, the company that will import and distribute the book here.
The book, titled Heath Ledger: His Beautiful Life and Mysterious Death, is being written by journalist John McShane and published by John Blake Publishing. No word yet on how many copies of the book Trafalgar will be bringing over; we'll let you know when we find out.

Apparently the book's release stateside will be timed to coincide with the release of "The Dark Knight."


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Offline nakymaton

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #175 on: February 24, 2008, 12:27:38 am »
Apparently Cate Blanchett dedicated her Independent Spirit Award (Best Supporting Actress for I'm Not There to Heath: "a beautiful independent spirit."

 :'( :'( :'( <-- me again, after avoiding this forum for a while.

http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/23/shes-right-there/
Watch out. That poster has a low startle point.

Offline Meryl

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #176 on: February 24, 2008, 12:32:25 am »
Apparently Cate Blanchett dedicated her Independent Spirit Award (Best Supporting Actress for I'm Not There to Heath: "a beautiful independent spirit."

 :'( :'( :'( <-- me again, after avoid this forum for a while.

http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/23/shes-right-there/

That's great to hear.  Thanks for posting, Mel.  If it becomes a trend for folks to dedicate their awards, or whatever, to Heath, it's fine with me.  8)
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Offline nakymaton

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #177 on: February 24, 2008, 12:47:17 am »
Todd Haynes also remembered Heath at the Independent Spirit Awards:

Quote
“I’m Not There,” the Bob Dylan biopic featuring portrayals of the singer/songwriter by actors of different ages, races and sexes, also did well, taking home the honor for Best Supporting Female (Cate Blanchett), as well as the Robert Altman Award created to honor the spirit of the directing great. As Todd Haynes accepted the Robert Altman Award on behalf of himself, casting director Laura Rosenthal and the entire cast of the film, he took the time to remember late actor Heath Ledger, one of the film’s stars.

“Honoring this amazing ensemble today is so bittersweet, given how shattered all of us are by Heath’s inconceivable absence,” said director Haynes. “I have no doubt he would have made an astounding director, and when I’m not looking bitterly or perhaps selfishly at the future of cinema without him, I treasure the time we shared on this film and the love and talent that he gave so freely.”

http://www.hollywoodtoday.net/?p=3935
Watch out. That poster has a low startle point.

Offline louisev

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #178 on: February 24, 2008, 02:29:05 am »
what a heartfelt tribute Haynes made.  That was great to read.
“Mr. Coyote always gets me good, boy,”  Ellery said, winking.  “Almost forgot what life was like before I got me my own personal coyote.”


yb

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Re: Heath Ledger Tributes and Obituaries...
« Reply #179 on: February 24, 2008, 04:09:53 am »
Reading all these tributes by the directors who had worked with Heath and talked about how he would make an astounding director (Chris Nolan, Terry Gilliam and Todd Haynes) is very heartbreaking.  I don't know when I'll be able to get over this immense feeling of loss. 
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 06:10:33 am by yb »