In the 1990s, Heath Ledger left his studies to pursue a career in acting, and he started making appearances in Australian TV shows and movies. He made his Hollywood debut with the 1999 teen romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You. The golden-haired, soft-spoken Australian actor soon became a teen heartthrob. However, he reportedly did not work for almost a year after his Hollywood debut as he was constantly getting similar roles as his 1999 film.
And he was quick to grab the opportunity when he was offered the role of Benjamin Martin’s eldest son in Roland Emmerich’s 2000 film The Patriot.
Heath Ledger Almost Quit Acting Before The Patriot
The 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You put Heath Ledger in the spotlight, and he started getting stardom in Hollywood. The film was a success, and the late actor started receiving more acting job offers. This led to him being typecast as Hollywood’s heartthrob, and he constantly received similar roles as the 1999 film.
But he was not interested in such offers as he wanted to try something new, different and seek challenging roles. And he refused to be typecast and rejected every offer he received for nearly a year after 10 Things I Hate About You until he got something different.
Later, he received the offer to star in the 2000 historical war film The Patriot alongside Mel Gibson which offered him something different. It is also reported that The Dark Knight actor was planning to quit acting and return to Australia before he got the offer for the 2000 film, in which he portrayed Benjamin Martin’s eldest son Gabriel Martin.
Followed by the 2000 film, he would go on to star in the Oscar-nominated film Brokeback Mountain, for which he also received the Best Actor Oscar nomination at the 78th Academy Awards. However, the teen heartthrob image would also cause the backlash behind one of the biggest roles of his career.
Heath Ledger’s Casting as Joker Received a Major Backlash
The reaction to Heath Ledger’s casting as the Clown Prince of Crime did not receive the same response as the actor’s performance in the film. When it was revealed that Christopher Nolan wanted the Candy star as the iconic DC villain in the Batman Begins sequel, it received a huge backlash.
Fans were skeptical of what he could do with Joker as he was mostly known for his work in the films like 10 Things I Hate About You and Brokeback Mountain. People judged his ability to do justice to the DC villain based on his character in these films. However, the Interstellar director was adamant about casting Ledger as Joker.
It was after the release of the film fans realized how wrong they were about him. Everyone was left in awe of his performance, and it is still believed that it would be hard for any actor to top his portrayal of Joker.