In 2007, when the first trailer for The Dark Knight dropped, everyone got the feeling that not only had Heath Ledger accomplished something extraordinary in his role as the Joker, but also that his career was on the cusp of something much bigger. That’s because after a long line of romantic comedies and box-office duds, his one-two punch of performances in Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight had transformed Ledger from hearthtrob to actor with a capital A. As a fully matured leading man, all sorts of challenging and fascinating opportunities now awaited him. And then, just like that, at the age of 28, he was gone.
Next month, Spike will premiere I Am Heath Ledger, a new documetary reflecting on the Oscar winner’s life featuring interviews with family and friends and copious amount of home-movie footage. As the trailer reflects, Ledger aspired to be a director and never strayed far from a camera of any kind, constantly documenting his life and the world around him. It’s a vision of a more cerebral Ledger that seems at odds with his public persona, and as footage of his joy, intensity and passion plays, you can’t help but think of just how far he could have gone. Like the Oscar-winning Amy, this documentary about a beloved entertainer lost too soon is sure to be a heartbreaker.
I Am Heath Ledger premieres May 17.