The actor says Ledger's role as the Joker didn't have anything to do with his death.
Over the years, there has been much speculation regarding the untimely death of actor Heath Ledger. The 28-year-old was found in 2008 inside his multi-million dollar Manhattan apartment dead from an accidental overdose of prescription medications. The entertainment world was stunned, along with millions of fans who anticipated that summer's The Dark Knight release, a film starring Ledger as the Joker. The performance was one of the actor's best and has gone down in cinematic history as one of the most iconic portrayals of the Joker in Batman history.
Following Ledger's death, rumors stirred about what could have been going on in the actor's personal life that would cause him to mix a prescription cocktail that would ultimately end his life. Stories spun out of control as the media tried to make sense of the tragedy, and some even went so far as to say that Ledger was so far gone into the madness of the Joker as he prepared for his Dark Knight role that he developed an addiction that turned out to be his demise.
Accomplished actor Michael Jai White starred alongside Ledger in DK, portraying the character Gambol in the film, and recently chatted with Collider Live about his late co-star, squashing all rumors once and for all. "That drives me up a wall," White said. "Because people want to write the story that this dark character consumed him. That’s people’s imagination. No, not at all. This dude had fun. You can see his playful character because of that scene when he comes out of the examination room and he does the hand sanitizer…you know he’s playing. You know he just did that for a goof. He’s having a ball. He’s modulating his voice. He is even asking us, 'What did you think?'...And the truth of the matter is he passed away when he was doing The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, it wasn’t even this movie. You know how much longer that was?"
White also said that Ledger created an environment on set that made everyone feel comfortable. "Heath Ledger was having a ball. We were giving him a wide berth and not bothering him, but he was the one initiating conversations and we were doing magic tricks and all kinds of silly things. We would hold up the camera with us just trading jokes, and then when we were done, we would get to shooting. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a more relaxed stage."
January 22 marked the 11 year anniversary since Ledger's passing, and every year on the date fans worldwide take to social media to show their love and appreciation of the talented actor who lost his life too soon.