We haven’t been covering this story because, frankly, everyone else has, and also it’s just sad. The rampant speculation and tasteless grandstanding following the young actor’s death is typical and yet the accelerated pace in the internet era makes it even more instantaneous and unavoidable. Nonetheless, a few notes that are germane to the topics of this website:
• Warner’s Dark Knight movie site, which had been rolling out a viral marketing campaign using Ledger’s Joker character, has gone to a simple tribute to the actor,
• Comicmix has a short audio interview with the actor about his role as the Joker.
• While Ledger’s entire , no one is saying how much ADR work had to be done, EW reports.
Dark Knight director Chris Nolan and execs at Warner Bros., the studio releasing the film, were not available for comment, and have not issued any public statements about the status of the movie. EW placed a call to Oscar-winning sound designer and sound editor Richard King, who’s handling the Dark Knight audio work, but he declined to comment. According to several other sound-mixing experts who also declined to speak on the record, there’s no way to tell what the situation is with Dark Knight from the outside, since the amount of ADR required, and the timetable for doing it, varies wildly between films. (In plenty of instances, looping is not completed until very close to the final release date, perhaps as little as a month or two out.)
• The marketing campaign will probably need major adjustments. Various pundits and studio types analyze the situation here. The marketing exec who came up with the campaign recently left WB.
“Warners are in a difficult position. Initially they wanted to capitalize on the early buzz that has surrounded Heath’s performance,” Bock told AFP. “Now they’re going to have to do a 180 from that.”
While the death of an actor before a film’s release is not unknown, with famous examples being 1994’s “The Crow”, starring the late Brandon Lee, and 1956’s “Giant”, released a year after James Dean’s death, the situation with “The Dark Knight” was unprecedented in the modern era, Bock said.
“This is something we’ve never seen before,” he said. “On the one hand they have to pay tribute to Heath and the performance that he gives, but on the other hand this is going to be one of the biggest films of the summer.
• Ledger’s final film was with director Terry Gilliam, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Major shooting had been completed but much SFX work remained to be shot in Vancouver. It’s not the first time a Gilliam film has been plagued by tragedies and accidents. The film’s future remains very much up in the air.
• And finally, in the most enigmatic note, when former Joker Jack Nicholson was apprised of Ledger’s death (by papparazzi), he muttered, “I warned him.” Which doesn’t mean anything at all really, except where the Joker is concerned, you should always go out on a mystery. You can watch a video of the comment here.