As impossible as it seems to believe now, there was widespread backlash from Batman fans when Heath Ledger was first announced to be playing the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. People openly questioned why the handsome, charming Australian who was still in his mid-20s at the time had been cast as one of the most iconic villains in all of pop culture.
Of course, everybody was forced to eat their words and then some when Ledger delivered one of the greatest performances the comic book genre has ever seen, cementing his legacy with a posthumous Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actor. He was one of the most versatile and chameleonic talents of his generation, equally capable of winning hearts as he was crafting unsettling characters.
One of his most popular and beloved early star vehicles has been added to the Netflix library, with A Knight’s Tale now available at the push of a button. Ledger’s peasant William Thatcher sets out to win Shanynn Sossamon’s fair maiden by entering a jousting contest with the help of his friends in Brian Helgeland’s winning blend of medieval fantasy, adventure, romance and comedy.
A solid hit in the summer of 2000 after earning $117 million at the box office, A Knight’s Tale was an early indication of Ledger’s natural charisma and screen presence, one that’s ideal for lazy afternoon viewing.