This video has been tearing its way around the internet all weekend, a 1979 Australian TV interview with Tom Waits that seems to be Heath Ledger’s inspiration for the Joker in The Dark Knight. Even stranger, the interviewer (Don Lane) seems to be doing Phil Hartman’s Frank Sinatra impression the whole time. Both are uncanny. Anyway, it’s an interesting interview, watching Phil Hartman Frank Sinatra treat Heath Ledger Joker like a disabled child. Did Tom Waits act like this all the time? That seems like it wouldn’t get obnoxious at all…
I haven’t read anything where Ledger said outright that he used Tom Waits as an inspiration, and the interview took place the same year he was born, but he is from Australia, and an obscure Tom Waits interview does seem like exactly the kind of thing an actor would fixate on (theater kids gonna theater). It’s quite possible that Ledger was aware of this when he developed his Joker persona, but it seems just as likely that Tom Waits is a time-traveling shape shifter.
I want more like this!
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