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'Batman' Director Remembers His Joker: 'Heath Was Bursting With Creativity'

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Best known for his haunting, Oscar-nominated performance as Ennis Del Mar, one of the gay cowboys in 2005 ' s "Brokeback Mountain," Ledger was a massive young talent on the cusp of greatness when he died last week in New York. The native Australian, who is survived by his 2-year-old daughter, Matilda, had recently finished work on this summer's "Batman" sequel, "The Dark Knight," in which he plays a villain, the Joker. Christopher Nolan, the film's director, shared these memories:

One night, as I'm standing on LaSalle Street in Chicago, trying to line up a shot for "The Dark Knight," a production assistant skateboards into my line of sight. Silently, I curse the moment that Heath first skated onto our set in full character makeup. I'd fretted about the reaction of Batman fans to a skateboarding Joker, but the actual result was a proliferation of skateboards among the younger crew members. If you'd asked those kids why they had chosen to bring their boards to work, they would have answered honestly that they didn't know. That's real charisma--as invisible and natural as gravity. That's what Heath had.

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