EXCLUSIVE: Heath Ledger Was Possessed During 'The Dark Knight' Says Real Exorcist of 'The Devil Inside'

Rev. Bob Larson offers his opinion on the untimely death of The Joker actor, saying that some actors are in need of an exorcism.

Rev. Bob Larson offers his opinion on the untimely death of Heath Ledger
Rev. Bob Larson offers his opinion on the untimely death of Heath Ledger
The idea that Heath Ledger was possessed by a demon during the production of The Dark Knight is not new. Some folks truly believe that the young actor opened himself up, and became susceptible to, a truly evil force. One that drove Heath's performance as The Joker.

One of those people that believe Heath Ledger may have been under the influence of Satan's minions in his portrayal of this iconic Batman villain is The Reverend Bob Larson, the world's leading exorcist, and foremost expert on cults, the occult, and supernatural phenomena. He is currently making the rounds in discussing the authentic nature of the exorcisms seen in The Devil Inside.

We recently caught up with Bob to chat about this new thriller. Along the way, we began discussing the dangers of demon possession in acting. And how certain roles or performances may make a person more accessible to demons. Heath Ledger's name came up automatically while discussing this topic. Which begs the question: If Heath Ledger was possessed by a demon...Did that demon want to act? Because if that is a demon, he is giving one heck of a performance. And he is quite cooperative with the crew. Why would a demon possess an actor, and then continue to carry through with making a movie. A movie is hard work.

In my professional opinion, I don't think a demon has the patience for all the wait time that occurs on a set. I could be wrong. Maybe this particular demon wanted to give the performance of a life time. I imagine him shuffling through Hell with his hat and cane right now, screaming, "See, that Oscar is mine!"

Here's what Bob had to say on the matter.

Like The Devil Inside, the more recent exorcism movies have been these faux-documentary, found-footage type thrillers. The actors are never well known. When we are watching this movie, and we see these people who are possessed on screen, acting out this demonic reckoning, and they get lost in what is a very scary, very real performance...Does that make them more susceptible to actually being possessed by a real demon? Are they opening themselves up in an unhealthy way? Especially when these actors are not on a contained movie set. But, like we see here, they are in a real location for the purpose of authenticity in the making of the film?

Bob Larson: Well...I'd be more worried about a Heath Ledger and a Joker character. We all know where that ended up. As legend has it, even Jack Nicholson warned him not to do that movie, because of the nature of that role. There is always a danger in loosing that line of distinction. But I don't see that happening in this particular film. Because I think they take a realistic, factual approach to it. At the beginning of the film, which I like, there is a lot of interaction and discussion about what exorcism is. How it operates. Through the dialogue, the questions of these young seminarians that are in this exorcism school give very authentic answers. There was very little that I could disagree with there. At least there is the semblance of factuality here, which is very strong...Which is very different from something like Paranormal Activity, which is just about looking for things that go bump in the night.

Let's go back to Heath Ledger. Its your professional opinion, as the world's most renown exorcist, that Heath Ledger was, in fact, possessed by a demon during the making of The Dark Knight. That's what propelled his performance as The Joker...

Bob Larson: I would say...something overtook that man. There is a strong possibility that somehow, he just took on too much of the evil of this character. After all, whether it was psychological or spiritual, he could not draw that distinction anymore. That is not the first time I've had an actor tell that sort of thing to me. When they are called onto portray that role. With this movie here, though, I don't see that happening.

Have you actually had professional actors come to you after portraying a certain character? Or something that is evil in a film? Do you find actors coming to you for character exorcisms?

Bob Larson: I have. There have been instances of that. Obviously, I deal with political figures, business people, as well as ordinary people...A lot of people in the entertainment industry. But I am sworn to secrecy on that. Clergy confidentiality doesn't allow me to discuss anything about that. But...There is that danger. I wouldn't say that it is a common danger. But it certainly is at work out there.

We know that demons are very smart, and very cunning. Basically, what you are telling me is, demons know, and are more apt to stay away from something like The Devil Inside. Because that is cliché. They are more apt to go where they won't be detected...

Bob Larson: I think that is fairly accurate. However, with what they are portraying in this film...The caution is..."Do not try this at home." Know what you are doing. When we train people to go through exorcisms, they go through an extended apprenticeship program. Hours of training. Hours of sitting alongside others who are performing exorcisms...Before they ever step out on their own. To take this on single-handedly, so to speak. There is always danger there. There is physical danger. There is the danger of physical violence. There is the danger of harm to the other person. I have been through some pretty scary situations in the years that I have been doing this. Its something you approach with a great deal of caution. What I do like about this movie is that they are interested in the scientific aspect of it. Can you psycho-neurologically determine and identify possession. In fact, I think you can.

Which brings up my next question. Here we have actors in a movie, who are believable on screen as a person who has been possessed. If we put that same performer in front of you, will you be able to tell the difference between someone who is acting the part of a soul possessed and someone who is actually soul possessed?

Bob Larson: Look, there are no special effects in a real exorcism. Whatever is happening, is really happening. If the eyes are dilating, they are really dilating. If the body is contorting in a way that is seemingly impossible for a person, from a muscular skeletal manner, to do...It is really happening. There are no smoke and mirrors in an actual exorcism. This is for real.

So there is no way an actor could fool you?

Bob Larson: I would know in a short period of time. I've had people try to fool me. For sick reasons, or just for curiosity, to see if they could. First of all, I am not going to do this in most cases unless I have profiled the person's history, and I have checked into their background. We don't take random people off the streets. And say, "Oh, we're going to do an exorcism." There is some factuality there. Secondly, you spend a fair amount of time on an exorcism. You don't just jump in, throwing around a bunch of holy water. And waving a cross. You ask a lot of questions. Anyone who is pretending wouldn't get very far, after a couple of hours of questioning.

To read more of our conversation with Bob Larson:, where we talk about animal possession and the dangers of the entertainment business: Click Here!

The Dark Knight was released July 18th, 2008 and stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Monique Gabriela Curnen. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan.

The Devil Inside was released January 6th, 2012 and stars Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Ionut Grama, Suzan Crowley, Bonnie Morgan, Brian Johnson, Preston James Hillier. The film is directed by William Brent Bell.


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Comments (68)

  1. THE JOKER

    What a lame article... I can't believe I am late getting to this article, but just lame

    2 years agoby @mcleve02Flag

  2. FrJack Ashcraft

    Larson is not a priest, nor is he a valid exorcist. His comments with regard to Ledger are patently silly and designed to gain attention.

    Please see the BARE FISTED CLERIC blog for more information.

    3 years agoby @FrJack-AshcraftFlag

  3. Noirqueen

    I can't believe someone actually decided to post this piece of drivel. This "Bob Larson" obviously knows nothing about the time frame of the filming of The Dark Knight (it was finished months before Heath Ledger's death) nor does he know anything about what was going on in Ledger's personal life, nor does he know anything about his emotional history. I am so sick of reading stupidity about the Joker character having anything to do with his death. I am also sick of websites that will publish such misinformation solely to increase traffic or upset his friends, family and fans, especially on the anniversary of his death.

    3 years agoby @NoirqueenFlag

  4. Ghostman

    This is such a disgrace, stupid idoit Priest, and why would you publish such a terrible story Movieweb?!

    3 years agoby @ghostmanFlag

  5. Writer220

    This reads like a stunt to upset Heath's fans but at the same time promote a horrible film that isn't worthy watching.

    congrats, B. Alan Orange, that's your final warning.

    3 years agoby @writer220Flag

  6. Dan

    @comicbookfan Yep. Broken down perfectly.

    3 years agoby @dan1Flag

  7. Hideki Ryuga

    what an @$$hole

    3 years agoby @h-ryugaFlag

  8. CBF

    Maybe figuratively speaking. But if one researches what is known, they will come to find that Heath was merely method acting, spending his nights in that lonely hotel room for near two months watching non-stop footage of real-life schizophrenics, split personality disorders, and sadistic people and the like. You don't need to be a psychiatrist to realize the result that does to a person's psyche. Not to mention reading twisted, dark, violent books like Arkham Asylum and The Killing Joke to get into character, and you see where his mind truly was. I can only imagine the nightmares. And not being able to sleep, hence the sleeping pills that led to his death, make the above article moot.

    3 years agoby @comicbookfanFlag

  9. Myles Djordan Oliver

    What this man is suggesting is completely ignorant and potentially offensive. Truly, what an *sshole.

    3 years agoby @Myles-Djordan-OliverFlag

  10. fanboy

    What a f*cking tool! He wasn't possessed, just sadly OD'd on some "prescription drugs". F*cking stupid people trying to gain popularity by claiming stupid sh*t like this pisses me off! F*ck this guy!

    3 years agoby @fanboyFlag

  11. ROFLitschristian

    There's a difference between possessed and doing a damn good job at what you do. This man LIVED the role, he wasn't possessed by it.

    3 years agoby @ROFLitschristianFlag

  12. LordPayne

    You know your a good actor when poeple are convinced you were posessed..

    ..and there should be a character in TDKR named Bob larson and Bane should crush his head and rip his spine out

    3 years agoby @LordPayneFlag

  13. the MovieGhost

    What a f*cking disgrace to Heath's memory.

    3 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  14. Zak Lee Ferguson

    what the f*ck- who does he think he is* Why is this on here its disrespectful and its got nothing to do with film!

    3 years agoby @Zak-Lee-FergusonFlag

  15. SherlockHolmes2009

    What a f*cking idiot. Hes really stuping this low to drum up publicity for Devil Inside and for himself. What Heath Ledger did wasnt something that possessed him or demonic: all it was was some amazing acting by an amazing actor

    3 years agoby @SherlockHolmes2009Flag

  16. Cartman

    So lame - this guys is just a mental trying to talk some crap to promote the movie...

    3 years agoby @c-a-r-t-m-a-nFlag

  17. Daveactor7

    Also stop complaining if its a dumb article. We all read or saw it. the end.

    3 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

  18. artkid04

    Very Stupid Article

    3 years agoby @artkid04Flag

  19. Corey W.

    Meh, stupid article. Humorous, but it didn't have to be posted. You pretty much already posted this with the other article with this exorcist chum.

    3 years agoby @coreyFlag

  20. Daveactor7

    @ignitedspade and that is an insult to people who believe in that as well. You are no different than this guy who claims all of this

    3 years agoby @daveactor7Flag

  21. Replicant

    This is the most pathetic article I've ever read. Seriously, this guy needs to go f*ck himself.

    RIP Heath. Btw, Jack Nicholson wanted to reprise the role, several times.

    Oh, and guys, I went to a screening of 'The Devil Inside', it wasn't even worth the bus ticket. The whole room booed it at the end, don't waste your time or money.

    3 years agoby @felipe-11Flag

  22. Movieguy650

    WTF..People just refuse to believe he's that good of an actor

    3 years agoby @movieguy650Flag

  23. moviegeek

    @cupid Yes, I agree. Hollywood is a scary place. And everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Robin Williams to Denzel Washington have admitted to channeling spirits. I'm not here to cast hellfire on them, but actors and actresses all around admit it themselves.

    BUT. There is NO need for this dinkbag to go and try to promote himself by bringing up such an incredible performance of a late actor though. Uncalled for and disrespectful. If people wanted to go search things out for themselves, they can. It's not your "duty", pretentious Exorcism dude.

    3 years agoby @moviegeekFlag

  24. Sean

    @cupid
    How did you already know about this ?

    3 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  25. CUPID

    @themoviefanatic Yeah dude, this kinda stuff is not new to me at all, ive known about this and a lot more for quite sometime now.

    3 years agoby @cupidFlag

  26. Sean

    @cupid
    Would you have thought this was the reason for the result of his preformance in the Dark Knight, if this article had not been posted on movieweb ?

    3 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  27. Gandoff

    In the words of my country brethren. Hog Wash.....

    3 years agoby @gandoffFlag

  28. Brizzy

    Oh dear f*cking lord, here we go..

    3 years agoby @BrizzyFlag

  29. Joshua Hollaway

    and in other news...Is anyone gonna go see that movie chronicle? Looks decent

    3 years agoby @Joshua-HollawayFlag