By all accounts, Ledger's performance is going to be something special. Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the movie the actor was shooting when he died unexpectedly on Jan. 22, will be completed and released using other actors. I'm hoping Ledger's death won't loom too distractingly over his scenes in The Dark Knight, since it can no longer be described as his final film.
Here's a passage from the New York Times story about Ledger's death and its taint on The Dark Knight:
Mr. Pfister, the cinematographer, said Mr. Ledger seemed “like he was busting blood vessels in his head,” he was so intense. “It was like a séance, where the medium takes on another person and then is so completely drained.”
Will Mr. Ledger’s death cast a pall over The Dark Knight, whose tragic plot turns already make it much darker than Batman Begins? “We’ll see,” said Mr. Robinov, of Warner Brothers. Mr. Nolan, for his part, said he felt a “massive sense of responsibility” to do right by Mr. Ledger’s “terrifying, amazing” performance.
“It’s stunning, it’s iconic,” he said. “It’s going to just blow people away.”