The kids and I saw The Dark Knight yesterday and, as has already been proclaimed by everyone else on the planet, Heath Ledger’s performance was nothing short of phenomenal – flawless, even. Say whatever you want about method actors, but it cannot be denied that in cases like Ledger’s portrayal of Batman's arch-nemesis, the technique works.
As I sat enthralled by Ledger’s Joker, I noted a detail in the character that seemed terribly familiar. It took me a while to place it. But then, like a bat-fist in the face, it hit me: that unsettling thing the Joker does with his tongue is very similar to a facial tick employed by another great method actor, Jeff Goldblum, in his portrayal of a human-insect hybrid in the 1986 remake of The Fly.
I’m quick to mention that this similarity is not of the plagiaristic persuasion. This new Joker was carefully imbued with layer upon nuanced layer of creepy idiosyncrasies. Ledger likely incorporated countless influences into his masterful representation of DC's famous face-painted psychopath and he deserves lasting acclaim for his efforts.
I do wonder, though, if Goldblum noticed his influence in the film and if he was appropriately flattered.
Be sure to snag the Joker VOX banner I whipped up!