Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Meet on the Ledger

Isn't it awful about Heath Ledger? So young at 28, and with a kid, promising career, etc.

The full details of his death have yet to be revealed, but it looks like a prescription drug overdose.

Do you think you have to be a certain type of person to be an actor? Because it seems to me there are two types who make it in this profession: those who are normal and those who are not.

If that seems a bit simplified to you, then think Richard Briers as normal and Robert Lindsay as not. One lives in the real world, looks after his money, has a normal family life, does publicity, is nice to people etc. The other is plain bonkers, rude, highly-strung, sees acting as being on a higher plane than other jobs and won't do much publicity unless it's with a broadsheet and then only about his craft.

So which one was Heath? Probably the latter.

Hollywood is littered with the corpses of actors like this. They can't stand the glare of publicity and only want to act. This is naive, especially today. You're young, good-looking, have a lovely wife who was a former teen star, you get a great role that's totally against type and get nominated for an Oscar. Then you split up with the wife.

Now you're interesting. People want to know about you. Play the game or get out.

It's terrible for him if this is how he felt. No doubt there's got to be more to it. There must be. But he did hate publicity and made a big deal about it.

NOTE TO STARS: If you want to just act, never appear on a screen. Stick to the stage. No one knows you're there. You will be left alone.

I'm not meaning to be harsh, and I'm not meaning to judgemental.

I just worry. Too many young lives snubbed out for no good reason.


FeedbackReport said...

As much as I love Briers, some tales of his attitude on-set could hardly be described as 'normal'...

Phil Norman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Five-Centres said...

I'm interested to hear those stories, FR, as I've only heard (and seen) good things.

Fair point Phil - there is no male equivalent word for diva. Just 'pain in the arse'.

A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

One of my friends met Heath Ledger only last week: she was being an extra on the set of a film he was making in London with Terry Gilliam. She says the Daily Mail have been on the phone to her already.

I think actors who actually do just want to act are probably the ones who are fine. It's the ones who SAY "I just want to act" when what they really mean is "I just want lots of attention and to be loved and fussed over by everyone constantly, because it distracts me from the fact that I don't like myself and feel pretty worthless." The problem is that they are looking for validation in a field in which you only get praise in tiny fits and starts anyway, and the rest of the time you either get abuse or ignored, which is what sends them back to their own misery.

*takes off her therapist's hat and goes back to the glamour of publishing, hem hem*

Clair said...

I'm dining with a Hollywood jounalist tonight, so I'll fill you in with all the background tomorrow. But Kitten's right, and too often, it's the people who hate themselves who become actors for the personal validation; exactly the sort of people who shouldn't. Look at Peter Sellers, only happy when being praised, or putting on a funny voice.

FeedbackReport said...

Well, there's a lot of stuff in commentaries, documentaries, interviews etc that suggests he can be a bit of a luvvie tyrant on set, in a sort of sneaky behind-the-scenes way. Most notorious is him - so several other people on the show claimed - getting the director of the first two series of Ever Decreasing Circles 'moved on' because he felt he wasn't being 'directed' enough. Don't know about you, but both those series look pretty damn well directed to me.

Roman Empress said...

Heath dead yeah?