Some actors leave a legacy behind that will never be touched, one so big and bright that it’s impossible to believe that anyone could leave a mark similar to theirs. One of those actors is the late Heath Ledger who made an impression across multiple genres of film, excelling at every role he took on.
So, to be compared to Heath Ledger in any way is a big deal, and Christopher Nolan mentioned lately that he took that role into consideration when he cast a newcomer (to acting) in Dunkirk.
When Nolan brought Ledger on as the Joker in The Dark Knight, it was something that no one wanted. In fact, you can still google ‘Christopher Nolan Heath Ledger Joker skepticism’ and see many articles highlighting the fan base being absolutely horrified with the decision. However, now, it’s impossible to think that anyone else could have better played the role.
‘When I cast Heath Ledger as the Joker [in The Dark Knight], it raised a lot of eyebrows and caused a lot of comment. I have to trust my instincts, and Harry was perfect for this part.’
He continued to say that he hopes people won’t miss what Harry did in the film because it’s subtle but real.
‘What I’m hoping for, when people see the film, is I’m hopeful that they won’t miss what he’s done, because it’s very subtle, very truthful and real. I wasn’t giving him a sort of flashy thing to do. But it’s really important what he does in terms of what it says, I think, about human nature and what people do in different situations, and I think he pulled it off with incredible grace and reality. And that as a director, that’s what you’re looking for.’
He also says that Harry was very committed to joining the cast and learning what he could from the experience, and also from those around him who were experienced
‘Harry was very committed and determined to just being one of the guys and coming there and learning what he could from the most experienced people around him and diving into the role feet first. I think he’s done an incredible job on the film and I’m really excited to show it to people.’
We, like Nolan, hope that people will view Harry for an actor and a dedicated member of the project and with the ways Nolan has said, more than once, that he cast Harry on his skill, merit, and talent should definitely let people know how serious of a decision this was.
It’s hard to branch off from a ‘persona’ that you’ve been given, whether you’ve earned it or not. Harry is so often seen as the ‘famous boy bander’ who expects the world to be handed to him, and that’s the total opposite of who he is. He saw an opportunity that interested him and he went for it – everyone with a dream should be able to relate to, and applaud, that.
Dunkirk premieres on July 21st in the US with select theaters having screenings July 20th. Tickets are on sale now.