He is here in London filming the latest episode of the “Batman” franchise, “The Dark Knight.” It is a physically and mentally draining role — his Joker is a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy” he said cheerfully — and, as often happens when he throws himself into a part, he is not sleeping much.
“Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” he said. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” One night he took an Ambien, which failed to work. He took a second one and fell into a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing.
Here too was his Joker diary, which he began compiling four months before filming began. It is filled with images and thoughts helpful to the Joker back story, like a list of things the Joker would find funny. (AIDS is one of them.) Mr. Ledger seemed almost embarrassed that the book had been spotted, as if he had been caught trying to get extra credit in school.
Meanwhile, a stunt had to be stopped because the water in Hong Kong’s harbour was too polluted.
A scene in which Batman was to drop from a plane into the harbor has been axed after the movie’s producers found the water quality could pose a potential health risk, the South China Morning post reported in its Sunday edition.”The plan was for Batman to be seen jumping into the water and then climbing up some bamboo, or something similar,” the Post quoted an unnamed production official as saying.
“But when they checked a water sample, they found all sorts of things; salmonella and tuberculosis, so it was canceled. Now the action will cut to inside a building.”