Heath Ledger's sudden, shocking death yesterday has left several of his current projects up in the air. The biggest among them is this Summer's The Dark Knight, but Ledger was also shooting a film with director Terry Gilliam and was preparing for his directorial debut. Here's some of the latest news:
- The Dark Knight is still on track for its July 18 release as of Tuesday. That film's studio, Warner Bros., issued a statement saying: "The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news. Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person.” Variety is reporting that the status of the film's marketing campaign is unclear, as it's built around sinister photos and appearances by The Joker.
- Production on what was supposed to be Ledger's next film after The Dark Knight, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, was reportedly shut down on Tuesday. The movie had just completed shooting in London and relocated to Vancouver for the next leg of production. It's unclear what will happen to the film now, but Ledger — who was the biggest star in the cast, which also includes Tom Waits and Christopher Plummer — had been considered key to its financing. That film's producers have not issued a statement.
- Ledger was also preparing his directorial debut, an adaptation of the novel The Queen's Gambit. According to Variety, Ellen Page had been offered the lead role of a chess prodigy, and Ledger, who was a chess player himself, was going to play a supporting part. His Parnassus director, Terry Gilliam, had said of his talent: "He’s watching everything, and he’s going to be a much better director than I will ever be."