Explore the detailed diary Heath Ledger created for his role as the Joker

The video offers a deeper look into the psyche of one of Hollywood's most memorable villains


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Prachi Gupta
May 31, 2013 8:30PM (UTC)

It's been five years since his tragic death, but Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" remains one of Hollywood's most memorable, chilling villains ever to hit the big screen. Ledger prepared for the role by "reading all the comic books I could that were relevant to the script and then just closing my eyes and meditating on it," he told Empire in 2007. "I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices."

Video footage of that diary has emerged, thanks to Reddit, from a German documentary show called "Too Young To Die." The show interviewed the actor's father, Kim Ledger, on an episode about the late star, who shared the diary.

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The diary provides a disturbing glimpse into the psyche of the Joker, holding clippings from Batman comics, pictures from Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange," playing cards, pictures of clowns and more. The video, in French, has been translated to English via YouTube:

This is the Joker’s diary. In order to inhabit his character, he locked himself up in a hotel room for weeks. He would do that. He liked to dive into his characters, but this time he really took it up a notch.

The hospital scene is interesting because when he was a kid, his sister Kate liked to dress him up as a nurse. He was really funny like that. He also was in the movie. This is a make-up test which was done eight months before. Before the end of the shooting he wrote ‘bye bye’ on the back of the page. It was hard to see this.

h/t The Film Stage


Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Batman Celebrity Heath Ledger Joker Movies The Dark Knight Video

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