"Vanity Fair has a feature on Heath Ledger's last days working on "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." To read the whole article you'll have to buy the August issue of the magazine, as a short summary is available online.Vanity Fair contributing editor Peter Biskind writes about the remarkable talent and untimely death of actor Heath Ledger, reporting on the actor's final movie role, his ambivalence about Hollywood, his devotion to his young daughter, and what happened at the end of his life as he was battling chronic insomnia, pneumonia, and exhaustion.Terry Gilliam--Ledger's friend and mentor, and the director of Doctor Parnassus--and Pecorini agree that the romance between Ledger and his former partner, actress Michelle Williams, began to unravel during the Oscar campaign for Brokeback Mountain. "The whole machinery started growing up around them," Gilliam says. "That was the moment when it changed, when he realized, Uh-oh. We perceive the world differently. He didn't care about things like those awards."
Although "he would arrive in the morning completely knackered," Gilliam says, "by the end of the day he was beaming, glowing with energy. It was like everything was put into the work, because that was the joy; that's what he loved to do. The words were just pouring out. It was like he was channeling."Alexander tells Biskind that Ledger had a pay-or-play deal on The Dark Knight--meaning he'd get compensated no matter what--so he felt he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted as the Joker. According to Pecorini, Ledger hoped his performance would be so far-out he'd be fired, and thus become the beneficiary of a lengthy, paid vacation."He was ready to bust out of the gate, but he didn't want to step on the gas and become something that he didn't want to become: a matinee idol", says Alexander. "He was a private person, and he didn't want to share his personal history with the press. It just wasn't up for sale. That's part of the reason he initially tore down his career. He wasn't motivated by money or stardom, but by the respect of his peers, and for people to walk out of a movie theater after they'd seen something that he'd worked on and say, 'Wow, he really disappeared into that character.' He was striving to become an 'illusionist,' as he called it, able to create characters that weren't there."The August issue of Vanity Fair hits newsstands in New York and Los Angeles July 1 and nationally July 7". Source: www.huffingtonpost.com