Author Topic: Heath's choice of acting roles - spoilers galore ahead, be warned  (Read 4617 times)

Offline Mandy21

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Heath's choice of acting roles - spoilers galore ahead, be warned
« on: September 19, 2008, 10:26:24 pm »
I'm not sure if anyone's covered this before here, but Fiona (optom3) and I were both thinking about the choices that Heath made in the relatively few amount of roles he blessed us with in his short life, and we were finding similar themes, sort of like bookends in them.  They related to a common theme of death in his films, as well as being a hero, riding a horse, being doomed by love, etc.  These below are our first thoughts on this topic, and we'd love to hear from all of you who have comments / agreements / disagreements / or other reflections / things to add.  Please join in!


He's a charmer chasing the ladies, but he's also sly and pretending to be someone he's not:
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
A Knight's Tale (2001) - riding a horse - begins with the death of his knight, we see another man hanging dead, and he himself is in the gallows before the prince rescues him
Casanova (2005) - riding a horse - sentenced to death by hanging, with rope around his neck before he escapes
 
He's a fighting soldier, but he's also undercover and pretending again at times:
The Patriot (2000) - riding a horse - witnesses the other soldier's murders, and then is murdered in cold blood in battle with that captain, war scenes with murder everywhere - also is a hero
Four Feathers (2002) - riding a horse - could have easily died in the desert and witnesses the other soldier's and friend's murders, war scenes with murder everywhere - also is a hero
 
He's a cop who despises that he has to kill, and then he's a cop killer, bringing it full circle:
Monster's Ball (2001) - is part of carrying out a death sentence, threatens to take his father's life, then takes his own
Ned Kelly (2003) - riding a horse - witnesses other's deaths - also is a hero
 
He's a drinker and drug addict:
Lords of Dogtown (2005) - threatens to jump from roof of his skateboard shop in front of the crowd
Candy (2006)
 
He's living in a fantasy land:
Brothers Grimm (2005) - horse
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

He's part of a doomed love affair:
Brokeback Mountain (2005) - also knows of Earl's and Jack's dying
Candy (2006)

The Dark Knight kind of stands alone, with no ties as far as we can see.

It just seems to me that he chose his roles based on some kind of "that was me then, this is me now" sort of perspective where he took the same theme, something he'd known and done before, and then he turned it on its head as a sort of progression for himself as an actor.  I'm not saying the first was better than the last, or vice versa.  I'm just thinking maybe he thought about his roles very carefully, and maybe we haven't considered or discussed that fully, yet.

Please do so, if you'd like.  Thanks from Fiona and I both, cheers!
Dawn is coming,
Open your eyes...

Offline optom3

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Re: Heath's choice of acting roles - spoilers galore ahead, be warned
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2008, 05:11:37 pm »
I think at its very simplest level,Heath chose roles latterly which were polar opposites,to give him some down time.BBM followed by pasta,vino and Venice in Casanova.

I also feel that there were 2 polar opposite sides to Heath's character.He was on the one hand,bright, vivacious and fun loving,ready to have a few drinks and laughs with friends. In direct contrast was a a more introspective and soul searching side.Weaving between both these, aspects was the overwhelming deisre to be as close to perfect as he could possibly attain.

Never once did I hear him say he was 100% happy with his performance.I suspect that for Heath,the inrospective side led to some contemplation of death and some fairly dark issues.It is interesting that at the time of greatest achievement in his life,BBM,Michelle and the birth of his daughter, he alludes to death.That has always resonated quite profoundly with me.He is being interviewed and is extolling the wonders f fatherhood, and then wham,he mentions dying.

It is not in a throw away,I would be happy to die now statement,but in a much more soul searching fashion. This aspect of his character I am sure influeneced his choice of roles.So many of the parts he played were of flawed or troubled characters, in one way or another.It could be that  taking on these roles and immersing himself so deeply in them led him to discover new traits within himself,or understand better the ones he was aware of.

The counterbalance was the more light hearted roles,which let the youthful Heath, revert back almost to childlike enjoyment of life. I think for Heath the many disguises that acting allowed him to wear,was  a form of psychotherapy.Nothing he did was ever half hearted,so he was able to run the full gamut of emotional states within his roles.which in turn may have freed up his mind initially for a more restful home time.

Latterly it saddened me to see that the roles seemed to control  him,rather than vice versa. He was too immersed,but that of course led to astounding performances,though maybe not an eay personal life.

I certainly agree that a lot of his film choices seem to be matched pairs. I also think that he needed,not just wanted but really needed a soul partner in his life.Every time he fell in love it seemed he gave 110%. It could be that just like the matched pairs/polar opposite aspect to his career,he needed to be part of that set up in his personal life.
In the words of the Joker, "you complete me" I think Heath on his own was incomplete.He functioned better and seemed at his happiest when he was in love.That being in love allowed him to tackle some of the darker roles. On his own, the darker side of TDK must have seemed very dark.Heath like very many talented people seemed to have no middle road.A partner who he was in love with,was the way for him to access the middle road.

Offline Gabreya

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Re: Heath's choice of acting roles - spoilers galore ahead, be warned
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2008, 12:21:39 am »
Wow! I totally agree with everything both of you guys had said about Heath's choice of roles. Those discriptions are nice. Real nice. It's amazing. And he's been good in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. He seemed like the type of actor that was very sensitive when it came to his roles' qualities and how should they be interpreted. :)

Offline TOoP/Bruce

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Re: Heath's choice of acting roles - spoilers galore ahead, be warned
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2008, 10:49:56 am »
It is also interesting to consider the roles that Heath once wanted but dropped out of...

The younger cop in Crash (the role later went to Ryan Phillippe, whose ex, Reese Witherspoon, is now going out with Jake Gyllenhaal), and Hugh Jackman's part in "Australia."

Heath was attached to both of these projects at one time, and later dropped out.  The role in Crash would have been in some ways repeating himself, since the Crash role was a bit "Monster's Ball." 

The attraction to "Australia" would have been similar to his attraction to the part of Ned Kelly...  A high profile project that would let him perform in his own voice and accent.  The director of "Australia" is Baz Luhrmann who also directed "Moulin Rouge" - Jake and Heath met trying out for the part that went to Ewan McGregor.
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Heath's choice of acting roles - spoilers galore ahead, be warned
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2008, 12:07:56 pm »
It is also interesting to consider the roles that Heath once wanted but dropped out of...

The younger cop in Crash (the role later went to Ryan Phillippe, whose ex, Reese Witherspoon, is now going out with Jake Gyllenhaal), and Hugh Jackman's part in "Australia."

Heath was attached to both of these projects at one time, and later dropped out.  The role in Crash would have been in some ways repeating himself, since the Crash role was a bit "Monster's Ball." 

The attraction to "Australia" would have been similar to his attraction to the part of Ned Kelly...  A high profile project that would let him perform in his own voice and accent.  The director of "Australia" is Baz Luhrmann who also directed "Moulin Rouge" - Jake and Heath met trying out for the part that went to Ewan McGregor.


Thanks Bruce!  This really is interesting to think about. :)


the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline optom3

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Re: Heath's choice of acting roles - spoilers galore ahead, be warned
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2008, 01:03:29 pm »
Thanks for the info. I had heard about the Crash tale, but not about Australia. How odd that he pulled out of the film that took the oscar from BBM. I am right in thinking that am I not ?

I am sure if I got it wrong, someone will correct me!!

One of my real favourite movies starring Heath, is Candy. Terribly sad, and almost a portent of things to come, but lovely to hear that deep rich voice of his. I do think he has one of the most memorable and lovely rich voices, since Richard Burton.

Spoiler----  The part in Candy where he is reading a poem is just sublime.

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: Heath's choice of acting roles - spoilers galore ahead, be warned
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2008, 04:52:24 am »
It is also interesting to consider the roles that Heath once wanted but dropped out of...

The younger cop in Crash (the role later went to Ryan Phillippe, whose ex, Reese Witherspoon, is now going out with Jake Gyllenhaal), and Hugh Jackman's part in "Australia."

Heath was attached to both of these projects at one time, and later dropped out.  The role in Crash would have been in some ways repeating himself, since the Crash role was a bit "Monster's Ball." 

The attraction to "Australia" would have been similar to his attraction to the part of Ned Kelly...  A high profile project that would let him perform in his own voice and accent.  The director of "Australia" is Baz Luhrmann who also directed "Moulin Rouge" - Jake and Heath met trying out for the part that went to Ewan McGregor.


Also, he was set to star in Terrnece Malick's The Tree of Life (previously known as Tree of Life), but dropped out and was replaced by Brad Pitt.

Offline Gabreya

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Re: Heath's choice of acting roles - spoilers galore ahead, be warned
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2008, 02:34:13 am »

Also, he was set to star in Terrnece Malick's The Tree of Life (previously known as Tree of Life), but dropped out and was replaced by Brad Pitt.

Oh. Well, I'm glad he got to take part in that. :)