We saw the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, last night. It was brilliant. It was powerful. It blew everything else out of the water. It was totally worth the hype. This is not, however, a review of the movie. It could be, but those more eloquent than I have already put word to publish and have done a better job than I would.
Heath Leger’s performance was as incredible as the advance critics claimed, and I would support awarding him a posthumous oscar. But as I watched the movie and pondered what he had to do for his role, it made his death more clear. The laundry list of medications that proved his fatal coctail doesn’t seem so surprising when I contemplate what a dark place to which he had to travel in order to become the Joker. I feel somewhat complicit in his untimely death by seeing and enjoying the movie.
I think of my own friends in “the industry.” How far will they go for a role? Some actors will take any role because they need the money, or because they want the exposure. Others will take roles based on how challenging or unique the experience (as I believe was Leger’s motivation.) Regardless of motive, as entertainment evolves, gets more edgy, and continues to bring us something different, I worry about the toll on the actors.
Just as I examine so many of my actions and ponder the ecological ramifications, I now wonder about the psychological ramifications of my entertainment. I’m sorry we lost someone who was only beginning to show his genius. There’s no easy answer. There’s no way to walk through life without any ripple effect, but before last night I never considered the sacrifices made for my leisure.