How sad about Heath Ledger. No, I didn't know him or anything like that. I haven't even got a lame-o showbiz story about having been on the same bus... Although, my sister made his clothes for Ned Kelly and said he was one of the good ones.
The shocked obituaries have of course all mentioned his moody, sulky turn in Brokeback Mountain. And Channel 4's lunchtime news had a clip of him being the Joker which is all very wow. Yet the film for which I think he should be remembered is his nicely light dude hero of A Knight's Tale.
The Dr and I went to see it in the now-closed old-skool cinema in Catford on 12 September 2001. We both kind of needed a break from the reality of the day before, and that was the perfect thing. It's quite a hokey story about a working class boy done good, that might as well be about him playing good football as it is about his good jousting. Yet it manages to be far better than it really needs to be, the lively pop history in a clever script allowing plenty of fine comic performances.
The Dr quite liked the scowly Rufus Sewell, and there's a scowly James Purefoy in there too. And ooh look, there's him out of Firefly and that's Saturday's Dogberry).
Paul Bettany's wildly over-the-top Geoff Chaucer is a particular gem. And Laura Fraser is in it too, which is always good for warm, glowy feelings. I once oggled at her on a train at New Cross - which is exciting because that's where Chaucer really was mugged (as happens at the start of the film).
Ledger really ought to be invisible in the company of such sparkling sidekickery. He is, after all, being the usual kind of square-jawed, blond hero eye candy, too saintly to be of much interest. I can't imagine another actor being better in the role, embuing what's could be such a stereotype with such warmth and charisma and life.
So, no, I didn't know him or what went on in his real life. And yet it really is a shame. As the sister said, he was one of the good ones.