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Heath Ledger’s Joker scared Michael Caine so much he forgot his lines

Michael Caine knew Heath Ledger would be the breakout star of The Dark Knight, because the Joker actor actually made him forget his lines

Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger might go down as the greatest Joker actor. His turn in Batman movie The Dark Knight is just the right amount of chaotic and terrifying, all but stealing the show from Christian Bale’s caped crusader. Ledger’s performance was so good, it even chilled his co-stars, including Michael Caine.

In an interview with Live About before The Dark Knight, Caine spoke about the intensity of Ledger’s approach. “He’ll frighten the life out of you. He did me the first time I saw him, because we did a rehearsal on the first day and we hadn’t met or anything,” Caine says. “So on the first rehearsal, I’ve never seen him. He has like seven dwarfs with him, like Snow White, only it’s not like that. When the bloody door opened on that lift, he came tearing out. I forgot every line. Terrifying.”

Considering the way Ledger came across in the cinema for the DC movie, we can only imagine what it must’ve been like doing scenes with him, especially if you weren’t prepared for what was coming. He went to a particularly dark, intense place, and gave us one hell of a turn before passing.

Caine had Ledger’s legacy clocked too, stating that he’ll be what we’re talking about after the superhero movie. “We’ve got Heath Ledger who’s gone in a completely and terrifyingly different direction and is extraordinary. He’ll be the big surprise in that,” he adds.

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A “big surprise” he was, silencing all naysayers that just thought he was a rom-com actor. Ledger in The Dark Knight was so good, he got a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, overcoming all bias in The Academy. Helps the film solidified Christopher Nolan as one of the great directors working in Hollywood today as well, a true watershed picture.

Have a look at our guide to the Superman movies for more of DC’s finest.