So, I’m not one to get wrapped up in celebrities. Who am I kidding? I spend endless hours reading gossip blogs and keeping up with the goings on of random people I don’t know and, for the most part, have no desire to know. However, there are a select few who stray from the “time wasting celebrity idiots” category into the “talented people that I admire and enjoy knowing are on the planet” category. Heath Ledger was definitely someone I enjoyed knowing was on the planet.
Today, at the age of 28, he ceased being on the planet….well, I suppose that would be up for debate, but I’m not in the mood. He died, naked, surrounded by pills in an apartment owned by Mary-Kate Olsen on Broome St….my favorite street in SoHo.*** He died before he got a massage. He died before the new Batman movie, with him as the Joker, came out. He died before the vast majority of his talent could be shared with the world.
Before he was a gay cowboy, he was Patrick in 10 Things I Hate About You. A modern adaptation of “Taming of the Shrew” set in the scary confines of high school…sign me up! I LOVE that movie and I love his character in it, trouble to those who don’t know him, but caring and sweet to those who did. SWOON. If you’ve never seen the movie…check it out. That was were my love for Heath Ledger bloomed. In the interest of full disclosure, Heath Ledger was the spitting image of Brian, my first real love,the boy I dated in late High School/early College. I’m sure that helped my affection for him grow.
I saw pretty much all of his films. He never ceased to entertain me, make me cry or laugh or whatever emotion best suited the scene. His acting was solid and to try and draw a line of growth through his characters would be interesting. He never played the same character twice. Strung out druggy in “Candy” ( a film that was always hard to watch, but after today may prove impossible) to a knight from a ridiculous adaptation of “Canterbury Tales,” to a crazy surf shop owner in “Lords of Dogtown” to “Casanova” and Bob Dylan and his most well known roll, a gay cowboy.
His performance in “Brokeback Mountain” was one of the most heart wrenching things I have ever witnessed. Every action of that character was a struggle and the look on Heath’s face and the tone of his voice never let you forget it. In an interview about the film he said that “love can destroy you too. The love that this man had in his life destroyed him.” That was painfully evident in the film. Of the two main characters in that movie, Ennis (Ledger) was the most complex. He seemed to be fighting with everything in his world, and he never won.
I don’t doubt that Heath Ledger was a risk taker. He was once quoted as saying “I’m not good at future planning. I don’t plan at all. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow. I don’t have a day planner and I don’t have a diary. I completely live in the now, not in the past, not in the future.” Those are not the words of someone who is living or wants to live a quiet, slow life. There is a part of me that would love to know what part of the “now” he was living in when he took the pills that presumably took his life. I’m all for living in the now….but mostly because I want things to talk about in “future now.”
There is no “future now” for Heath Ledger and that saddens me. It saddens me more then the death of an actor should. Perhaps it was my desire to see where his career took him. To see what he looked like as an old man so I could know what Brian would have looked like had he not been killed in a motorcycle accident last year. Maybe I simply wanted to see an attractive man on the big screen who would take my breath away and always leave me wanting more. I guess the “leaving me wanting more” part is taken care of…..
***ok..so it wasn’t in MKO’s house. But it was on Broome street. I didn’t think anything so horrible could happen on such a wonderful street.