“I wouldn’t have taken it”: Heath Ledger Revealed He Won’t Have Played The Joker If Tim Burton Would’ve Directed The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger wouldn't have been Joker of Tim Burton was directing The Dark Knight for a surprising yet noble reason.

“I wouldn’t have taken it”: Heath Ledger Revealed He Won’t Have Played The Joker If Tim Burton Would’ve Directed The Dark Knight


  • Heath ledger's portrayal of the Joker will always remain legendary, towering over all other's.
  • But he would have never been Joker if Tim Burton was involved for he did not want to mess up Jack Nicholson's iconic performance.
  • It was Christopher Nolan's new interpretation of the character and mythos that made him say yes.
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Heath Ledger portrayed the iconic DC character Joker in The Dark Knight. It has been more than a decade and a half since the movie came out, but Ledger’s portrayal of the Crown Prince of Crime towers over every other portrayal. While some comic book fans of the 80s would name Jack Nicholson as the better Joker, the majority of DC fans who have for long studied and grown along with the mythos hail Ledger’s performance as unbeatable.

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Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger

The first actor to ever win an Academy Award for playing Joker, he once stated that had Tim Burton directed the movie and asked him to play the role, he would have instantly declined for a very surprising reason.


Also Read: “I really don’t need to actually hit you”: Christian Bale Almost Beat the Sh*t Out of Heath Ledger after Joker Star Consented

Why Heath Ledger Would Not Have Been Joker If Tim Burton Had Directed The Dark Knight

Batman 1989 Joker Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson as Joker, Batman (1989)

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Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy and the performances of Christian Bale and Heath Ledger as Batman and Joker respectively will forever remain iconic. Anyone who has watched or is even remotely aware of their performances would agree that it is a feat impossible to top the movie and its cast.

However, as Ledger revealed in an interview with Joseph McCabe for the book 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, he would have never played Joker against Bale’s Batman had The Dark Knight been directed by Tim Burton.


Revealing the real reason behind his alarming statement, he stated,

“But I really loved Batman Begins; and the character of the Joker was just too good to turn down. I’ve said this before, but…if Tim Burton was doing The Dark Knight and asked me to play the Joker I wouldn’t have taken it. Because to try and even touch what Jack Nicholson did in Tim Burton’s world would be a crime.”

And so while fans continue to debate who is the better Joker, the late actor Heath Ledger himself held Jack Nicholson‘s portrayal as legendary.


Also Read: “He just completely ruined all my plans”: Christian Bale Had One Remark for Heath Ledger’s Joker After Being Disappointed With His Own Batman Role

Heath Ledger Portrayed His Iconic Character Because Of ‘Fresh Interpretation’

Heath Ledger as Joker from a scene in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008)
Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight (2008)

While Heath Ledger did not want to hurt or alter Jack Nicholson’s legacy of playing Joker in Burton’s 1989 Batman movie if it was Burton who was directing it, he readily agreed when Christopher Nolan offered him the part. It was Nolan’s reinterpretation of the original character and storyline set up in a more modern realistic world, that attracted the actor to the role.


As mentioned in the book 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, Ledger remarked,

“So when Chris [Nolan] came to me, and…I knew how Chris was. He had already set up the world for me. I’d seen what world it was that I would be playing in. So I knew it was open for a fresh interpretation. I also instantly kind of had something up my sleeve, which happened to be exactly what Chris was kind of looking for. We sat down and kind of shared ideas, and they were the same. So we just went with it.”

Fortunately, each had what the other was seeking for the role, and thus Ledger’s most iconic role and the best portrayal of Joker was born.


Both Batman and The Dark Knight can be streamed on Max.


Written by Maria Sultan

Maria Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. Having honed her skills are a Freelance and Professional content writer for more than 5 years (and counting), her expertise spans various genres and content type. A Political Science and History Graduate, her deep interest in the world around shapes her writing, blending her insights across diverse themes.

Outside the realm of writing, Maria can be often found buried in the world of books or pursuing art or engaged in fervent discussions about anything or everything, her passions balanced by binge watching Kdramas, Anime, Movies or Series during leisure hours.