Heath Ledger's death comes right on the eve of Warner Brothers massive ad campaign for the upcoming Batman sequel The Dark Knight. In the film, Ledger plays the Joker in what has been called one of the scariest, darkest performance to ever appear on screen.
The status of the film's ad campaign is uncertain. As of this moment, the film's July 18th release date still stands. The project was wrapped in the fall, with much of the post-production work already finished. The first phase of the campaign is built specifically around Ledger's ghoulish Joker character. Warner Brothers had no comment on how they would be proceeding with the marketing of the film.
Warner Brothers' Alan Horn told Variety, "The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news. Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person." The Dark Knight campaign will present more than a few challenges for the team at Warner Brothers. A current poster shows a blurred image of Ledger in his creepy make-up, scrawling the words "Why So Serious?" on a mirror in red lipstick. The Joker is also being used as the main focal point of a viral scavenger hunt on the internet.
One insider working on the campaign stated, "The Joker character is dealing with chaos and life and death and a lot of dark themes. Everyone is going to interpret every line out of his mouth in a different way now."
Ledger was working on the Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death. He plays a main character in the project. There is no word on how Ledger's death will be affecting the filming of this particular project at this time.
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.