The Dark Knight’s 10th anniversary may have been last month, but there’s still much to learn about the film’s production. The latest tidbit comes from The Dark Knight scribe, Jonathan Nolan. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Nolan revealed that fans weren’t the only ones who had doubts about Heath Ledger’s casting as the Joker. He, too, “didn’t get” what director Christopher Nolan saw in the actor. Interestingly, Warner Bros. had reservations, as well.
When I wrote The Dark Knight, Chris [Nolan] had to figure out how we’d tackle the Joker. Chris had a good meeting with Heath Ledger. And no one got it — I didn’t get it, the studio didn’t get it. And the fan community was… we were fucking pilloried for it. “Disaster, worst casting decision ever!” Chris just stuck to his guns. It was a question of not giving the fans what they’re asking for but what they want — which is, “Let’s find a really fuckin’ serious actor, somebody who’s going to come in and just tear this role to pieces.”
Of course, the tune changed as soon as The Dark Knight hit theaters. As far as live-action incarnations are concerned, Ledger’s performance is widely considered incomparable. In each moment throughout the film, Ledger’s choices as an actor are unerring. He set the bar, and not just for films about comic book characters.