Saturday, January 26, 2008
I was saddened and rather shocked to hear this week of the death of Australian actor, Heath Ledger in New York.
A talented actor he was only 28 yet already had a large number of films under his belt. I haven't seen all of them but the ones I have seen I have enjoyed and his acting talent was obvious. He grew up in Perth, Western Australia in a normal household and attended the well respected Guildford Grammar school. He seemed kind and down to earth and was actually named after Heathcliff in Bronte's Wuthering Heights.
I didn't always agree with his film choices - but must remember they were only roles he was playing!
Here is a list of his films/tv:
Clowning Around - 1992 - lots of Australians in the cast (eg. Noni Hazelhurst, Ernie Dingo, Rebecca Smart) with the odd American thrown in (eg. Van Johnson). Filmed in Paris.
Ship to Shore - 1993 - an Australian comedy series for children.
Sweat - 1996 - an Australian drama series about a school of children with athletic pursuits. Aimed at children/teens and filmed in Australia.
Blackrock - 1997 - Drama aimed at teens, filmed in Australia. Nominated for a number of AFI awards, Mystfest and Film Critics Circle of Australia awards. Won an award for best feature film - adaptation by the Australian Writers Guild.
Paws - 1997 - adventure film aimed at family viewing. The dog of the film has the voice of Billy Connolly. Filmed in Australia.
Roar - 1997- an Adventure/Fantasy series filmed in Australia. Nominated for an emmy and a handful of other awards, some wins.
Home & Away - 1998 - Australian drama series.
10 Things I Hate About You - 1999 - A comedy/romance based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. This was the first major role for Heath that I can recall. He starred alongside Julia Stiles. Received many nominations and Julia Stiles won two awards from this film.
Two Hands - 1999 - A drama/crime with a few light moments, this Australian film starred Heath and well known Australian laconic actor, Bryan Brown. Nominated and won a decent amount of awards.
The Patriot - 2000 - Action/drama film where Heath played the son of Mel Gibson's character in this movie based on the American Revolution. Nominated for 3 Oscars. Heath won Favourite Male Newcomer by Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for this role.
A Knights Tale - 2001 - one of my favourite Heath films. An adventure/action/comedy/romance movie filmed in the Czech Republic where a peasant squire becomes a knight. Lots of nominations and a few wins for this easy to watch movie.
Monster's Ball - 2001 - A drama filmed in the US which starred Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry. This film won an Oscar and had many other wins and nominations.
Four Feathers - 2002 - another good film, although I don't know how popular it was. An adventure/drama filmed in England that also starred Kate Hudson.
Ned Kelly - 2003 - a gritty Australian film about the outlaw of the same name. Heath brought realism without the audience losing thier love of this folk hero. Also starring Orlando Bloom, Naomi Watts and Geoffrey Rush amongst the many. Lots of nominations including Best Actor for Heath from the AFI Awards and Films Critics Circle of Australia.
The Order - 2003 - I haven't seen this US/German action movie that was filmed in Italy.
Lords of Dogtown - 2005 - Filmed in the USA this action/drama brought Heath an Actor of the Year award and nomination.
The Brother's Grimm - 2005 - Another film I really enjoyed where Heath starred alongside Matt Damon. An adventure/fantasy filmed in the Czech Republic and directed by Terry Gilliam.
Brokeback Mountain - 2006 - I didn't actually like the 'idea' of this movie so have never watched it, although it won 3 oscars amongst an absolute landslide of nominations and wins. Heath was nominated for an Oscar for Best Peformance by an Actor in a Leading Role. The AFI awarded him best actor for an international film. He was also nominated for a BAFTA and a Critics Choice Awards.
Casanova - 2005 - An adventure/comedy with Heath in the lead role and fellow actors included Jeremy Irons and Sienna Miller. Filmed in Italy, the film had a couple of wins/nominations.
Candy - 2006 - I saw too many reviews and shorts of this film to want to watch, but it won a number of awards and Heath was nominated for best actor by AFI, Film Critics Cirle and IF.
I'm Not There - 2007 - This biography of Bob Dylan has won an Independent Spirit Award and is nominated for many other awards including an Oscar.
A film is still in production:
The Dark Knight - a batman movie in post-production where Heath plays the Joker.
One other film has started filming, called the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus it is a fantasy directed by Terry Gilliam (he directed The Brothers Grimm). It is currently on hold while they decide if they need to recast Heath's part.
Condolences must go to his family, ex-partner Michelle and daughter Matilda.