It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Heath Ledger’s villainous turn in The Dark Knight one of the most celebrated performances in all of blockbuster history, but in a recent Throwback Thursday Instagram post by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Knight Rises star offered a more personal recollection of the late Oscar-winner.
When Gordon-Levitt was still in his teens, the actor performed opposite Ledger in the 1999 high school rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You. In the time the two spent together during filming, Gordon-Levitt recalls how his co-star helped shape his taste in music.
“Heath turned me on to a lot of great music during that summer we worked together. I remember the first time I ever heard Radiohead’s OK Computer was when I was riding in the back of his car.”
Gordon-Levitt isn’t the only famous figure to recently reminisce about the late performer, who passed away back in January of 2008. In an interview with Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Maggie Gyllenhaal was asked earlier this month about her favorite memory of working with Ledger, prompting the star of The Deuce to recall the first time she saw his manic portrayal of the Joker.
“I remember coming to work and seeing him – that scene where the Joker throws me off a roof – and seeing him come in and start to do what he was doing, which was the first time I saw it. I still think about this sometimes — it’s so hard to be good in a huge movie like that, that’s not about the acting, really. It’s so much easier to be good in a little tiny movie where it’s all about you.”
Gyllenhaal went on to further stress the difficulty of standing out in a high-budget franchise film, and how Ledger managed to pull it off.
“To be amazing like Heath was in a movie that’s got explosions and huge stunt scenes and big sets is a whole other thing. I don’t know if anyone’s ever, ever done that as well as he did in The Dark Knight.”
As easy as it is to see in retrospect that Heath Ledger was the right choice for the role, the initial announcement was met with heavy backlash and criticism, both from within the fanbase and within the studio. Once The Dark Knight made its way to cinemas, however, it was clear that the objections were premature, and this sinister take on the Caped Crusader’s most famous adversary has inspired movie psychos ever since. But to Gordon-Levitt, it seems that the star was influential in ways beyond his screen presence.