The Joker: Did Heath Ledger Take His Inspiration From...Tom Waits?
Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" was a work of genius — but was part of that genius inspired by the crater-voiced rock icon?
Heath Ledger's Joker is the sum of a lot of parts: His own slapdash make-up application, a bit of A Clockwork Orange's Malcom McDowell, a touch of Sid Vicious. But that voice — that playful, dragged-down-a-country-road drawl — seemed like a unique invention. At least, until you listen to Tom Waits in this 1979 interview on Australia's The Don Lane Show.
Of course, there's no way to know if Ledger ever saw this footage. It is entirely possible that his vocal take on the Clown Prince of Crime was totally organic and was invented independent of this. There is always more than one way to get to any destination.
But you've gotta admit: The similarity is staggering.
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