Stephen Gaghan Recalls 'Horrible Moment' When He Learned Of Heath Ledger’S Death


(MENAFN- IANS) Los Angeles, March 1 (IANS) Filmmaker Stephen Gaghan has opened up about the film he almost made with late Hollywood star Heath Ledger and recalled the horrible moment he learned about the actor's death.

Stephen spoke about Ledger, who gained universal acclaim and global spotlight with his performance as the chaotic character of Joker in 'The Dark Knight', during his appearance on Malcolm Gladwell's podcast miniseries 'Development Hell'.

The director and actor back then wanted to adapt Gladwell's book, 'Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking', which talks about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye.

Stephen received a phone call from Ledger's father and his close friend. Ledger had been found dead in his Manhattan apartment at the age of 28 in January, 2008, due to accidental overdose of medications.

“They were there with the body, and our script was in bed with him, and your book was on the bedside table,” Stephen told Gladwell as reported by deadline.

“I think my number was on the script -- like written. These guys are in, as you can imagine, they are in shock. And they dialed that number, and I don't know why.”

At the time of the call, Stephen was at an airport with his wife Minnie Mortimer. He said he almost collapsed after learning about the news.

“I literally just collapse. It's never happened to me before or since. I just literally sat down because I was like, 'What? What?' What they were going through I should not have been a party to in any way, really, and yet as a human and somebody who just cares, I just was there and I was listening.”

“My wife was looking at me. I remember her face and I was just speechless. I just listened and listened and listened. It was just really, really sad. And it's still sad.”

That shocking news led Stephen to put the Gladwell project on hold.

He said:“For me, I just had to put a pin in it.”

The film was originally slated to star Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio. However, changes in the script called for a younger character.

“This other thing had happened off-camera, which is that I met Heath Ledger and I'd gotten to be very, very close with him instantly,” Stephen said.

“I just had a real connection with him that was kind of unusual and really special to me. I got really excited, and I started seeing him as the main character. Once I started seeing that, I couldn't un-see it.”

Revisiting the script has brought back many memories for the director.

“I got it out right before we got on. I was reading it. I was just like... 'I could be crazy, but I think this script is really good'," he told Gladwell on the podcast.

“We really had something really special, and we might've been ahead of our time or something,” he said.

Gladwell agreed.

“Maybe it's time to bring Blink back to life. If there's someone listening in some big office somewhere in Hollywood, I will get on a plane tomorrow, if that's what it takes.”

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