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Candy Everybody Wants: Ledger Talks Up New Film

Drug love: Cornish and Ledger in Candy

The Reeler obviously isn't a one-person show anymore, and one of my strongest assets behind the scenes is the site's fearless intern Clémentine Gallot. "Fearless," of course, because A) she's crazy enough to work with me and B) she was crazy enough to brave a room full of the city's most bloodthirsty film-press sharks to get a word with Heath Ledger, whose new film Candy opens today in New York.

She filed this dispatch from her therapist's couch (thanks NYU!), but she's tough -- expect her back here next week, resilient as ever, ready for anything:

"Less than a year ago, all anyone talked about was Heath Ledger’s groundbreaking part as a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, the subsequent Academy Award nominations for himself and his co-star/fiancée Michelle Williams, their move to Brooklyn and their infant daughter Matilda. Now he’s back in a small independent film in his native Australia and all they talk about is his newest co-star, 24-year-old Abbie Cornish. But the now-infamous rumor of Cornish breaking up the Ryan Philippe/Reese Witherspoon marriage didn’t seem to affect Ledger when he met with journalists last week in Manhattan. 'It's unfortunate for everyone involved, I guess,' the actor said. 'It's really none of my business.'

"All right, then -- back to Ledger, who stars alongside Cornish in Candy, a film about love and heroin addiction. Its story is simple: Dan, a poet, meets Candy, an art student. Dan makes Candy try heroin. Then you're sucked into the inevitable spiral of misery and bad screenwriting. The film predictably follows the stages of addiction from 'paradise' to 'hell' and draws the portrait of two young heroin addicts you've seen plenty of times -- from Trainspotting to Requiem For A Dream -- with junkie-movie repetitions that might induce you into sleep. Nevertheless, Candy received a stunning number of accolades in Australia in 2006, including a nomination for Ledger as Best Actor from the Australian Film institute.

"Candy is the 27-year-old actor's first collaboration with TV director Neil Armfield -- a project he emphasized was 'the best script available' at that time (Ledger acknowledges doing the movie primarily because he wanted to work at home). The film's not all bad; it is a sensual evocation of intimacy (you might recall that Ledger’s had to shoot more difficult sex scenes recently), and Ledger and Cornish, who prepared for their roles with an addict at a rehab center, both put their research to good use in their performances. The film is based on a novel by another former addict, Luke Davies, who also worked on the set everyday to guide the two actors through the drug scenes step-by-step.

"Ledger's a long way from his American debut in the comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, and while he said he has 'unintentionally' been in a few comedies along the way, his next star turn may be his biggest yet: He will play the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s next Batman movie. I asked if there were any other directors he'd like to work with. 'No,' he told me, then laughed. 'Yeah. Hmm. Look, most of them are dead. Like Cassavetes, Kubrick. No, there is a long line of them actually but they're not lining up for me. I wish they were. But you know, Terrence Malick -- I'd really like to be in one of his movies.' ”

"In the meantime, it's back to Brooklyn, where he juggles fatherhood and career. 'I didn't immediately rush to make a voice in an animated movie,' he said. 'But you know, it definitely changes the person you are -- your professional evolution definitely grows hand-in-hand with your personal evolution. So I guess it affects my performance more than my choices.' "

Posted at November 17, 2006 7:57 AM

Comments (2)

When I heard the news, I was shocked..couldn't believe what I was hearing and seeing at the time...I have to make sure it was really him....Anywho, very talented guy, and for him to go that young, saddens my heart...To Heath, rest in peace Brother...To all his fans out there, I can feel y'all pain...And to his Family, my heart goes out to y'all and my deepest condolences...He's at a better place...


when I seen this on the news I could not believe my eyes! Had to go research it and hoped that I had heard and seen wrong. It deeply saddens my heart and my deepest sympathy goes out to his family. He was a wonderful actor and will be sorely missed!!!!!

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