24 January, 2008

My Tasteless Opinions: Heath Ledger

In the midst of all the undoubted sadness over the recent drug related death of Actor Heath Ledger (why God, oh why, couldn't you have taken Ashton Kucher instead?). There's lots of understandable hand-wringing, which I have scant sympathy for, the guy was good looking, talented and successful (in our culture this counts as a tragedy, the unreported deaths of non-famous losers count for little). I think we should really spare our tears for.... Terry Gilliam.

Yes, Terry Gilliam. The much benighted director who has once again had a film torpedoed by the ill health of one of it's stars. Gilliam's latest "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" (according to "The Mail on Sunday") is likely to be shelved. Previous failed projects of Gilliam's include Time Bandits 2, A Tale of Two Cities, and most famously The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (which at least produced the documentary Lost In La Mancha). I'd rather see a gush of celebrity sympathy for Mr Gilliam, perhaps leading to recasting of the role, and saving the project.

Johnny Depp, after Quixote, you probably owe Terry one. Although I wouldn't want to put off you working with Bruce Robinson on Hunter S.'s The Rum Diary. (Come to think of it, poor Bruce Robinson has had an even more undeservedly sucky experience of mangled projects than Gilliam).

Oh well, I must admit I did feel inordinately sad over Ledger's death, as there are few actors of his generation now considered "stars" who have had impressive acting chops as well (though Christian Bale springs to mind, but I'm not sure he's hit "star" status yet). The shallow end of my mind posits that any guy who beds Naomi Watts and Michelle Williams cannot necessarily be deemed to have had a tragic life.

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