No late-night partying for Heath Ledger

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No late-night partying for Heath Ledger Empty No late-night partying for Heath Ledger

Post  Admin on Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:30 pm

No late-night partying for Heath Ledger
Fri. Sep. 8 2006
Canadian Press

TORONTO -- Heath Ledger is relaxed and sprawled in an armchair in a downtown hotel suite when, out the window, he spies someone in a neighbouring building staring back at him.

"The weirdest guy has been sitting up in that window looking at me," Ledger says with a giggle. "How weird."

Ledger, in town for the Toronto International Film Festival, seems genuinely surprised by the fact that he is now both an object of fascination to the movie-going public and a full-fledged film star, despite his Oscar-nominated performance in the groundbreaking "Brokeback Mountain" last year.

There's not a thread of Armani upon his tattooed and toned physique. His hair is shaggy and unkempt. His black jeans and running shoes are well-worn. He's soft-spoken, polite and friendly, but deadly serious as he discusses the media frenzy surrounding stars like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and their new babies.

"We've tried to cater our lives and our professional lives towards not getting to that place," says Ledger, who plays a heroin addict in the harrowing Australian film, "Candy", premiering at the festival.

The 27-year-old actor, himself a new father to baby Matilda, lives with American actress Michelle Williams in a modest neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York, where they do their own grocery shopping, have their neighbours over for dinner and are competing in a "greenest block in Brooklyn" contest.

"I don't need to own a skyscraper and I don't need to fly my own jet," the Aussie actor says. "I don't need all those things so therefore I don't need to get myself in that position, trapped within my own empire. And it is a choice. You choose to get there."

Even though Ledger is taking on the role of the Joker in the upcoming Batman flick "The Dark Knight," he says he doesn't get approached for the lead parts in big action movies because he's turned the studios down too many times.

"I would have fun making them, I just wouldn't want anyone to see them," he says with a broad smile. "If I could work out a deal like that where I could make the movies, run around, jump off things, shoot guns - OK, that would be fun. They're kind of mindless and you don't really have to try and you just say one line in each scene in your own way."

But Ledger says he's more interested in finding roles that require more work, both intellectually and professionally.

"It's kind of like comparing watching television and reading a book. Watching TV just makes you go kind of numb, and reading a book you grow, you expand. I like to look for roles that are like books, that I have to study and expand upon."

He certainly hasn't missed the mark with "Candy," based on the book by Australian novelist Luke Davies. Ledger portrays a romantic poet named Dan who falls in love with the beautiful Candy, newcomer Abbie Cornish in an astonishing performance. Ledger masterfully turns a ferocious heroin addict - one who introduces his middle-class, somewhat white-bread girlfriend to hard-core drugs as well - into a sympathetic and ultimately selfless character by the film's end.

"I had no real desire to play a junkie," he says. "But love is very important in my life and it's something I am always interested to find within a story. But I like it to be smuggled or disguised in other backdrops."

And, not surprisingly for the star of "Brokeback Mountain," dubbed the gay cowboy movie, he adds with a laugh: "I don't really like conventional love stories. Can you tell?"

Ledger is currently working on the Todd Hayne biopic on Bob Dylan, "I'm Not There," in Montreal. Ledger plays Dylan during one period of his life; Williams also has a part in the film.

It's the second movie he's made in Canada, and Ledger couldn't be happier to be back filming here after his "Brokeback" experience in Alberta.

"I absolutely love it. I love the people, I love everything about it here. I don't know what it is about Australians and Canadians getting along so well but they do," he says. "It seems like there's the same sense of humour, very dry, and just a very modest society." Nonetheless, Ledger says he's anxious to get back to his simple and peaceful life in Brooklyn, raising his daughter - and don't look to him to be pulling all-nighters on the film festival's famous non-stop party circuit.

"I'm up at 5:30 or 6 every morning, and in bed at 9," he says. "But it's fine, and the one thing I realize is that before Matilda, we were just sleeping in too long. We were missing out on so much of the day. I get much more done now; I feel more focused. And I actually need to go to bed at 9 now - I feel it in my bones."

Rest In Peace Heath Ledger
You will be Never forgotten
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