Archive for January 23rd, 2008

January 23, 2008

>He’s Gone. Just Like That.


“I only do this because I’m having fun. The day I stop having fun, I’ll just walk away. (…) I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life….I don’t want to spend the rest of my youth doing this in this industry. There’s so much I want to discover.” (Heath Ledger, 2000)

It’s true, he’s dead. A 28-year old guy with a wide future right in front of him and a little girl to look after. When I first heard of the news, I could go for the Hollywood cliche and believe it had something to do with drugs. But, drugs? I’m not into reading about celebs’ personal lives and scandals, so if it has ever been something of the sort related to drugs and Ledger in the past, I have never really heard of it. So, then I thought, “it could have been a murder, couldn’t it?”. Desperate for news, I left the comfort of my warm bed and turned on my computer at 01:30am: so there it was, some sort of “medicational” drugs lyed down around the unconscious body. Should I finally conclude everyone famous, from rock stars to movie stars are doing some sort of drugs in at least one point of their lives or during all of it? The difference is there are those we’re pretty aware of what they do (Think of Lindsay, and think how her career could be a lot better as well) and those we just don’t have a clear idea or any idea at all. Why can’t most of them (at least the talented and promising ones) behave like… Natalie Portman? Is Hollywood a playground of drugs and free booze that it makes it impossible for starlets and young actors to refuse it?

In Ledger’s case, it seems like it was something given by his doctor (just like it was with Marilyn Monroe), therefore it’s even weirder for me to realize he was going through a troubled or depressed phase? It just didn’t look like. I saw him twice in the movie theaters last year, first in Candy and more recently in Bob Dylan’s unconventional biopic I’m Not There. And for Christ’s sake, wasn’t he in a new Batman movie that is opening sometime in 2008, as The Joker? I shouldn’t be this naive, as times are so different. We’re not in the early 1960s, Hollywood makes us no longer believe in beautiful, endless young and nevertheless, perfect stars that live perfect lives doing perfect things. Star System is forever dead, and that’s not news. For more shocking Ledger’s death may represent to me, I can only image how harsh it was for movie fans, cinefiles and general people at those times, when the tragic death of James Dean and later on, Marilyn Monroe was announced.

I guess my shock has to do with a River Phoenix (1970-1993) sort of shock, who died from an overdose in a LA night club runned by Johnny Depp, my fav actor and who was also a long term drug user in the past. The question is… Why? At the moment everyone is speculating about it. I don’t even wanna think in a suicide possibility, but then, an accident. And even so, wasn’t it possible dialing 911, fighting back? Did he just give up, closed his eyes and surrended? Heath Ledger made me weep as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, he made me remind of a young Brando in this actor’s best times and he also made me believe of a bright movie career ahead. I have never felt sorry at all over the death of old artists, especially those who no longer work and who dedicated their entire lives to their art; and I can’t avoid thinking how ridiculous it is for people who mourn over such deaths, sometimes artists who they barely knew as concerning the artist’s work (!!!).

Not every death is supposed to be bad, though all deaths are still hard for the ones who suffer the loss (And trust me, I’m not just saying it, I’ve been there). A parent who loses a child will suffer differently from a child who loses a parent. The death of Ingmar Bergman (to name one that also died recently) can’t be compared to this present case right here. First of all, this is a guy I truly know, I’ve seen his films from teenager romantic comedies to the most recent ones, I’ve followed his bad flicks, the great ones, the disposable actings and the breathtaking ones. And the fact he’s abruptly gone… Oh jeez. I can’t even say R.I.P. However, I envy those who truly can.

Photo: Ledger as one of the countless Bob Dylan’s personalities in I’m Not There.