Normally, I don't want to post on our celebrity culture unless I can find a political or spiritual angle, but I truly was shocked when I came across an Internet blurb on msn.com yesterday afternoon that Australian actor Heath Ledger was found dead in New York. He was 28.
So, instead of posting on my increasing dislike of former President Clinton's unwanted opinions about Obama (cuz, it's so transparent why he's so passionate about it. He still owes his wife big time for his Monica mess. I have a feeling that she has never let him off the hook for that one, which happened ten years ago around this time), or another post I was going to do on the latest Tom Cruise/Scientology scandal (anyone see that promo video for Scientology that Cruise did where he's laughing like a retard? Certi-freaking-fiably cah-RAY-zee!)...I'm posting on one of the best actors of Generation Y. The Scientology post will just have to wait (I've been wanting to post my opinion on them for a long time, so we'll see).
Meanwhile, for my tribute to Heath Ledger...
The first film I saw him in was The Patriot where he played Mel Gibson's strong-willed son who wants to fight in the Revolutionary War against his father's wishes. I thought it was interesting that there were two Australian actors playing in a film about American history. It was like, what? they couldn't find American actors? But he did a great job.
The next film was A Knight's Tale, which I remember reading articles where Heath was embarrassed by the marketing decision for the film (with his face taking up most of the poster with the catchphrase: "He Will Rock You!"). His non-actor buddies in Australia gave him such a ribbing for that catchphrase. It must have affected him because he made less commercial films after that. However, "A Knight's Tale" remains my favourite of the films I've seen him in (I love the Medieval period, I loved the music, and I especially loved Shannyn Sossamon in that film). Even my best friend Nicholas Smith liked it, surprising both himself and me, for he thought that making the film an anachronistic "rock musical" would make a mockery of the period. I'm not a stickler about period pieces because nothing puts me to sleep faster than a faithfully accurate adaptation of a Jane Austen or Charles Dickens novel.
After a slew of low budget and gritty roles in forgettable films, he gained more attention and his first and only Oscar nomination for the controversial "Brokeback Mountain" in which he played a cowboy conflicted about who he loved (his wife or his buddy). That movie spawned a lot of jokes, and perhaps in a way to prove that he didn't swing that way, he and co-star Michelle Williams made a baby. That relationship went the way of all Hollywood relationships, breaking up last year. What is with these people, anyway? I thought Heath might've been different, since he lived in Brooklyn and favoured a "Bohemian lifestyle" (as newspapers have reported). He lived outside the influence of Hollywood, away from the glitz, glamour, and papa-nazis. So how did he end up like River Phoenix?
Perhaps it was his final role, as the Joker in the upcoming "The Dark Knight" movie. In the article on msn.com, Ledger had said that he struggled with sleep after playing a "psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy." Yikes! Perhaps dabbling in the dark side was just too much for him.
Was it suicide or an accident? Who knows? All I know is that Hollywood lost a talented young actor. He's just the latest casualty in the never-ending war Hollywood is waging against young people. Throwing tons of money and fame at these people can't be a good thing. Any day now, I'm expecting to hear of Britney Spear's untimely death. The Hollywood papa-nazis seem to be wishing for it. Nothing sells tabloids like young death. If you don't believe me, check how many times Anna Nicole Smith made the news last year, even though she died early in the year. We still get updates!
Let him rest in peace. And may his soul find peace. We'll never know what roles he would have perfected in a long career. And another toddler (his two-year old daughter Matilda) is orphaned by the Hollywood death machine (well, she still has her mother at least).
In other Hollywood news, they released the Oscar nominees yesterday and I haven't seen any of the Best Picture nominees. It looks like another boring Oscar year. Maybe the Hollywood Writer's strike is a good thing. It can finally answer a zen question: "What if they held an Academy Awards show and no one watched?" We could all use a break from all the back-slapping that goes on with too many awards for the same small group of people. Let's get back to the real world and the issues that matter: never ending war, stagnant wages, sputtering economy, ascendant China, and the dysfunctional Bush and Clinton family dramas.