Heath Ledger checked himself into an Australian rehab facility in 2006, where he
spoke with drug addicts and learned to shoot heroin into a fake arm in order to research his role as a junkie for the film “Candy.” He said the experience turned him off of narcotics, according to reports.
“I do think that drugs and alcohol have been obviously glorified and mythologised,” the actor told reporters at the time. “I’m sure drugs and alcohol would inspire new thoughts but it’s certainly not something that I use as a tool or a mechanism to create.”
Ledger was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a Manhattan apartment, surrounded by sleeping pills, according to NYPD spokespeople, who only went as far as to speculate that his death may have been drug-related. He was 28.
Ledger told the New York Times in November that he had trouble sleeping while filming scenes for “The Dark Knight” as The Joker and took prescription sleep aids.
“Candy” screenwriter Luke Davies, who based the script partially on his own struggles with drug addiction, told the Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday that he was shocked to hear of Ledger’s death.
“It’s just a huge loss, an awful day,” he said. “He was a very beautiful person. We got to know each other quite well on set. He just had an immediate connection with people. … It’s completely unexpected. I feel so sorry for his family.”
Ledger was best known for his Oscar-nominated role in 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain.” A native of Perth, Australia, Ledger relocated to Los Angeles in the late 1990s to pursue an acting career. Most recently, he was seen in the Bob Dylan biopic “I’m Not There.”
Most known for his Oscar-nominated turn in the 2005 film “Brokeback Mountain,” Ledger was set to play The Joker alongside Christian Bale in the latest Batman installment “The Dark Knight,” scheduled for release later this year. Days before his death, Ledger was spotted on the London set of Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” in which he was also scheduled to star.
Ledger and his “Brokeback Mountain” co-star Michelle Williams dated for three years after meeting on the set of the movie in 2004. Their daughter, Matilda, was born in October 2005.
Ledger also formerly dated actresses Heather Graham and Naomi Watts. When he and Williams called off their engagement last September, Ledger moved out of the Brooklyn brownstone they shared and relocated to Manhattan. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in an apartment at 421 Broome Street in Soho.
Other movies in which Ledger appeared include “10 Things I Hate About
You,” “The Patriot” and “Monster’s Ball.”