Watch: Go Inside Heath Ledger's Chilling 'Dark Knight' Joker Diary

May 31, 2013
Source: The Film Stage

The Dark Knight

It's hard to believe it's been five years since we lost Heath Ledger. The actor went out with an amazing Oscar winning performance in The Dark Knight as iconic villain The Joker, arguably delivering the best interpretation of the character even seen on the big or small screen. While on the set, Ledger kept a diary featuring little things that inspired his character. From images of Batman comic books to the trademark playing cards and images of different clowns, there's a slew of stuff that looks like a serial killer's diary. But the most chilling is the last page of the diary which features the words "Bye Bye" scribbled in large letters.

Here's the video looking through Heath Ledger's diary from The Dark Knight, via The Film Stage:

The video above comes from the German documentary show Too Young To Die. As you can tell, the words are not in English, but here's a translation of what is said:

This is the Joker’s diary. In order to inhabit his character, he locked himself up in a hotel room for weeks. He would do that. He liked to dive into his characters, but this time he really took it up a notch.

The hospital scene is interesting because when he was a kid, his sister Kate liked to dress him up as a nurse. He was really funny like that. He also was in the movie. This is a make-up test which was done eight months before. Before the end of the shooting he wrote ‘bye bye’ on the back of the page. It was hard to see this.

There's been speculation that Ledger's deep dive into the character of The Joker is what caused his fragile mental state that eventually led to his accidental death, but it's hard to say what really happened. This diary is a haunting look back at the final days of work and preparation Ledger undertook to bring his larger than life performance to the big screen (you can see some of his hospital room monologue within the diary), and now we're left wondering what would have become of the actor's career and life if he had lived on after The Dark Knight. Ledger will be remembered for years to come, and he is still missed.

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  • fem!anon
    I miss him so much. He was an incredible actor in all of his roles. I always wonder what projects he might have been a part of if he were still alive today.
  • toasterslie
    You cite The Film Stage as your source. I think they got this from Uproxx and didn't give credit (video, Empire quote, and translation are from three different sources which Uproxx used and credited, plus the description of what's in the diary is a close paraphrase). When I commented about that, they first said they got it from Reddit and gave credit to Reddit (they didn't credit Reddit anywhere in their post, though), and then a few minutes later their denial and my original comment were deleted. There's still no credit to Reddit or anyone else. It looks like they spotted something viral, went to great lengths to avoid crediting anyone so people with better scruples would have to cite them. And it looks like it worked, since you did the right thing and credited a source.
    • sedna
      gotta hate assholes who dont cite proper sourcers
    • Alan C.
      But Uproxx took it from Comic Book Movie, which stole it off Reddit without source, so The Film Stage is actually the only site with the correct source.
      • toasterslie
        Uproxx credited Comic Book Movie for the video and two other sources for two other parts of their post. The Film Stage credited no one until they were called on it, and the source they credit didn't have the translation or Empire quote. See the difference? I also just noticed the original version of the translation has double quotes around "bye bye", while Uproxx changed it to single quotes, 'bye bye'. The Film Stage version is also changed to single quotes. They cut and pasted it from Uproxx.
        • David Banner
          Could have been worse, Latinoreview might have had some inside scoop
  • That diary shows real commitment to Heath's work. Incredibly impressive.
    French VO is freaky.
    • ( ಠ_ಠ )
      No no no, it's a "German documentary" ..... apparently
  • Danimal
    Wow...I'd love to see the full documentary
  • That book should be in a museum. I'm not trying to quote Indiana Jones, I really mean it.
  • $15717468
    sadly he could not seem to differentiate between his character and himself........perhaps he should have continued in film which would have lead to more sanity.
    • sdaf
      The Dark Knight was not the last movie he did. He was half way through The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus when he died. I can't imagine how him ODing could have anything to do with him playing The Joker.
      • Cody W
        I never saw imaginarium, but I find it hard to believe that him ODing had NOTHING to do with playing the joker. Im not saying that was the main cause, but from this and various interviews, accounts say he fell into a very deep depressive state during and after the production of TDK. Who knows though, its such a tragedy, a man willing to give that much to a role, he could have had so many legendary performances.
  • K1ng
    Got the chills when I saw and read the "BYE BYE"... RIP Heath
  • mistermysteryguest
    Heath's Joker was the best thing about the movie.
  • AHox
    He lived a man and died as a legend.
    • Avi
  • Avi
    I watched the darkknight Maybe thirty times and it's the best acting performance i ever will see,besides Daniel day Lewis in there will be blood...
    • avconsumer2
      Agreed. He owned that part. I've seen interviews with Heath, and if I didn't know better, I'd say it was some crazy conspiracy, because the Joker, in that film, is pretty damn far from Heath. I mean really, if you had no idea who was acting that role when you saw the film... I'm pretty sure Heath Ledger would be waaaaayyyyy down the list of guesses.




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