A brand new version of DC Comic' supervillain and Batman nemesis The Joker is about to hit screens as actor Jared Leto has taken on the mantle in villain-based flick "Suicide Squad" (opens Aug. 5), but it was the last portrayal of Gotham City's biggest baddie by the late Heath Ledger that had everyone talking -- and still does.
Leto's Joker will most likely be compared to Ledger's in every way, and considering both actors are Academy Award Winners (Ledger won his posthumously for the role, while Leto won in 2014 for "Dallas Buyer's Club") it's probably going to be a difficult call as to who did it better. Of course, both actors will have gone in and did it their way and the characters will hopefully stand alone on their own when it comes down to it.
As Leto is set to take the big screen, it's Ledger's character that has set the bar so high. He played the part of a deranged criminal mastermind, unafraid of any threats and ultimately putting Batman in a no-win situation, regardless of his own fate.
Here are 10 things you didn't know about Heath Ledger and how he transformed himself into one of the best villains of all time (and one of his own personal favorites) ...
1. His Name
Ledger was named after the dark character Mr. Heathcliff, from Emily Bronte's classic "Wuthering Heights". Heathcliff, of course, was a character that exhibited the traits of both the hero and the villain in the story. A bitter, haunted man who seeks vengeance. In fact, English poet Dante Gabriel Rosetti said of the novel, "[I]t is a fiend of a book — an incredible monster... The action is laid in hell, — only it seems places and people have English names there."
Sounds like a perfect match for The Joker.
2. Why So Serious?
Ledger got into character by locking himself in a hotel room for six weeks. Talk about serious preparation. He wanted to get inside the Joker's head.
3. Role Reversal
Warner Bros. Pictures
Ledger originally approached director Christopher Nolan about playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in the first film in the trilogy, "Batman Begins". Nolan felt he wouldn't be right, and Ledger agreed. Soon after it was decided he'd make the perfect Joker.