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Video: Jack Nicholson on Heath Ledger’s Death – “I Warned Him”

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger was an extremely popular actor among his fans and created many beloved characters before his untimely death.  Ledger died right before the release of his most iconic role: playing The Joker in The Batman film “The Dark Knight”.

Heath Ledger

While his death was ruled an overdose, there are some very strange connections with his role as the Joker and his death.  One of the strangest things said about Heath Ledger’s death was by fellow actor Jack Nicholson, who also portrayed The Joker in earlier films.  When Nicholson was leaving a London restaurant, a reporter approached him and asks Nicholson what he thinks about Ledger’s death, which had occurred that same night.  After pausing for a moment, Nicholson answered, “Well… I warned him.”

Here is the video for reference:

An interesting article written in The NY Daily News a few days after Ledger’s death and months before the release of the film sheds some light on the situation.  According to The NY Daily News [1]:

Jack Nicholson, who played the Joker in 1989 – and who was furious he wasn’t consulted about the creepy role – offered a cryptic comment when told Ledger was dead. 

“Well,” Nicholson told reporters in London early Wednesday, “I warned him.” 

Heath Ledger

Though the remark was ambiguous, there’s no question the role in the movie earmarked as this summer’s blockbuster took a frightening toll. 

Ledger recently told reporters he “slept an average of two hours a night” while playing “a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy … 

Heath Ledger

“I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” 

Prescription drugs didn’t help, he said.

According to internet rumor forum Snopes [2], there was a wild rumor surrounding Ledger’s death called “The Curse of The Joker”, which stated:

Heath Ledger was warned by Jack Nicholson that taking the role of
the Joker in Batman could be dangerous and he should be careful not to let
the character take over his life. Heath Ledger’s insomnia and behavior
that ultimately led to his death were due to his inability to heed Jack’s
warning. The role of The Joker tortured his soul.

Taking it a few steps further, a few years later, one of the most renowned exorcism experts, Reverend Bob Larson, believes that Ledger was possessed while playing The Joker.  ComicBookMovie.com reported [3]:

While chatting with Movieweb about the new horror film The Devil Inside professional Exorcist The Reverend Bob Larson shifted gears and dropped a bomb by saying that he believes the Heath Ledger was possessed by a demon during the filming of The Dark Knight. When elaborating on why he thought that that was the case Larson said that he believes something just overtook Ledger.

“I’d be more worried about a Heath Ledger and a Joker character. We all know where that ended up. As legend has it, even Jack Nicholson warned him not to do that movie, because of the nature of that role. There is always a danger in loosing that line of distinction. But I don’t see that happening in this particular film. Because I think they take a realistic, factual approach to it. At the beginning of the film, which I like, there is a lot of interaction and discussion about what exorcism is. How it operates. Through the dialogue, the questions of these young seminarians that are in this exorcism school give very authentic answers. There was very little that I could disagree with there. At least there is the semblance of factuality here, which is very strong…Which is very different from something like Paranormal Activity, which is just about looking for things that go bump in the night.”

“I would say…something overtook that man. There is a strong possibility that somehow, he just took on too much of the evil of this character. After all, whether it was psychological or spiritual, he could not draw that distinction anymore. That is not the first time I’ve had an actor tell that sort of thing to me. When they are called onto portray that role. With this movie here, though, I don’t see that happening.”

Heath Ledger

Interestingly, after Nicholson’s remarks went viral, he backpedalled by saying he did not warn Ledger he would die from the role.  According to Entertainment Wise [4]:

The veteran Hollywood actor  caused a stir outside a London restaurant when he cryptically told fans that he warned Ledger about dying.

However, the 70-year-old star, whose role as the Joker in Batman was reprised by Ledger just before his death, states he was misquoted and was simply warning everyone against using that brand of pills.

Heath Ledger

“What I actually said was, ‘I warned them,'” said The Bucket List star. “I had a bad experience with those sleeping pills [that Ledger apparently took.]”

“I took one of these pills and had just gone to sleep when I had a phone call to go to an emergency at a friend’s house . I jumped up, went outside and some time later woke up on the driveway.

“It sounds amusing but I live in the mountains and it could of been worse. I didn’t know Heath Ledger , but I know those pills.”

While many people believe the myth around Heath Ledger and his untimely death coupled with him having just finished playing The Joker is just that: a myth, others believe there is something darker and much more eerie about the tragic situation.

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below!

Sources:

[1] http://www.nydailynews.com/news/jack-nicholson-warned-heath-ledger-joker-role-article-1.340786

[2] http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=33689

[3] http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/JakeLester/news/?a=52348

[4] http://archive.entertainmentwise.com/news/40387/jack-nicholson-i-didnt-warn-heath-ledger-about-dying

Royce Christyn
About Royce Christyn (3467 Articles)
Documentarian, Writer, Producer, Director, Author.
  • christchex91

    The moive is the dark knight not the dark knight rises which is the next moive in the nolen batman series

    • Royce Christyn

      Thank you for pointing that out – it has been corrected!

    • Burt Ward

      Go flick yourself off to Adam West you pedantic shyster

  • http://jack%20nicholsin batman

    Seems to be a lotta shinky shonky shanksta shit going on ear my dear