Heath Ledger was much more than an ac­tor.

A new film un­cov­ers his quest to cre­ate.

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - JEN­NIFER LOGUE @jen­nifer­logue jen­nifer.logue@metro.us

More than nine years have passed since the un­timely death of Heath Ledger. Best known for his iconic roles as En­nis in “Broke­back Moun­tain” and The Joker in “The Dark Knight” (which earned him an Acad­emy Award posthu­mously), spec­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to swirl around his pass­ing, with many sub­scrib­ing to the be­lief that he was dragged down to a dark place by his craft.

A doc­u­men­tary his life and work, “I Am Heath Ledger,” is any­thing but dark, how­ever, por­tray­ing Ledger as a pas­sion­ate artist, chock full of joie de vivre.

“He was hav­ing the time of his life — he was en­joy­ing it. He was at the top of his game as far as he was con­cerned,” says film­maker Derik Mur­ray, who’d been in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing Ledger’s life for some time.

The doc­u­men­tary re­veals many sur­pris­ing de­tails about the ac­tor’s life — one be­ing that act­ing was only a small part of his artis­tic out­put. Ledger burned even more brightly behind the cam­era as a pho­tog­ra­pher and di­rec­tor.

“His main goal was to be­come a di­rec­tor,” says Mur­ray. “He was di­rect­ing these mu­sic videos and was su­per-hands-on learn­ing the craft and loved mu­sic. He even DJed at his house, and that wasn’t some­thing that was widely known un­less you knew him.”

Long be­fore the days of Snapchat, Ledger was also ahead of his time when it came to doc­u­ment­ing his in­cred­i­ble jour­ney — bring­ing his video cam­era ev­ery­where.

“He filmed behind the scenes when he was trav­el­ing or on set. But he also used the cam­era as an act­ing tool — film­ing him­self,” Mur­ray notes. “He never took any for­mal act­ing lessons, which is amaz­ing.”

Mur­ray’s pro­duc­tion com­pany was given ac­cess to all of these per­sonal videos as well as Ledger’s vis­ual works by Heath Ledger’s es­tate.

“We had ac­cess to this con­tent, and it re­ally says it all. It was so ex­cit­ing and fresh and so filled with life that in the edit­ing suite, we were like, Heath is a co-di­rec­tor in this movie we’re mak­ing,” Mur­ray says.

Ledger’s fam­ily and long list of friends (in­clud­ing ac­tor Naomi Watts and mu­si­cian Ben Harper) pro­vide com­men­tary on his truly ex­tra­or­di­nary life and ca­reer in the film.

“So many peo­ple loved him, and we wanted the world to know,” Mur­ray says.

The doc­u­men­tary also pro­vides in­spi­ra­tion to the artist in all of us to go out there and in Ledger’s own words, “not be afraid to fall.”

“His en­ergy was ab­so­lutely in­fec­tious and a big part of who he was,” Mur­ray re­flects. “His cre­ativ­ity was some­thing he em­braced daily and never took it for granted. He was on a mis­sion ev­ery day to cre­ate some­thing. That’s some­thing we can all ap­pre­ci­ate.”

“I Am Heath Ledger” pre­mieres tonight at 10 p.m. on Spike TV.

HEATH LEDGER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Heath Ledger ex­celled behind the cam­era as a di­rec­tor, pho­tog­ra­pher and vis­ual artist. Some­times he’d even paint on top of his orig­i­nal pho­tog­ra­phy (right).

KARIN CATT

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