02 July 2008

Honouring Heath Ledger

The question of what is a fitting tribute to Heath Ledger has split the art's community of Perth. The Western Australian Premier, Alan Carpenter, has indicated that the State intends to re-name the Northbridge Center after the recently deceased actor and current star of the latest installment in the Batman franchise, The Dark Knight.

Heath Ledger was a young actor and he was making his name on the big screen and not in the theatre. This seems to be the gist of the arguments against naming a theatre after Ledger. Nevertheless, Ledger was an actor and he was an actor that was gaining increasingly good reviews of his work. He will be forever remembered for his role in Brokeback Mountain. However, there is increasing talk that his performance in The Dark Knight is superb and worthy of awards.

Some of the arguments against naming the theatre after Ledger take aim at his personal life and question whether or not he was a good enough role model. It would be interesting to see where those arguments might lead. Ledger died of a drug overdose. This was subsequently ruled to be an accident. If anything this tragedy should highlight the dangers of self-medicating with prescription medications. Ledger, if anything, was guilty of being naive and failing to understand the inherent dangers in mixing medications. But a bad role model? I guess that is a matter of opinion.

For me, I hope they stick to naming the theatre after Ledger. It might just be what the theatre community needs. The memory of a young man who was dedicated to his craft, one who was getting better each time he came to ply his trade, and one who may have one day done more stage work, might just be the incentive to attract more young West Australians to the theatre.

But then again what do I know about theatre or film other than watching it? Not a lot! Yet, I do think it is a fitting tribute to a fine Australian export to the world.


Rob Baiton said...

There is early Oscar buzz for Ledger's performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

He would not be the first person to be nominated posthumously or the first to win if he was to win. The last posthumous winner was Peter Finch in 1976.

James Dean was nominated a couple of times.

Rob Baiton said...

On the posthumous thing...

Spencer Tracy was also nominated as was Massimo Troisi.