Heath Ledger’s Joker in 2008's The Dark Knight is one of the most memorable movie villains ever in cinema. Mesmerizing every scene, his performance is heroic that led to an unsettling final act. "He's thoroughly terrifying. Do not despite the PG-13 rating, bring little children" this quote by The New Yorker's David Denby says it all.
The goal of this project was to design a Joker portrait that would depict Ledger's Joker in true comic fashion. Basically it was about bringing the best of both worlds; the iconic make-up, outfit and Ledger's resemblance from the movie combined with the trademark sinister smile and pose of the Joker as seen in comics.
Chaos was an underlying theme throughout The Dark Knight movie and the twisted metal elements in the portrait backdrop were incorporated with that in mind. The flames were a last minute addition, as I needed some sort of element to balance the overall blue tone in the portrait. But as noted by my colleagues, this however made the viewer's eye shift all around the picture opposed to the central character, and hence was a distraction. Yet since chaos is a theme here, I believed that indirect effect helped in this case. Thus I opted to keep the flames while making minor adjustments so it didn't affect the overall composition.
At time of his death Ledger had completed filming the Joker character almost 03 month earlier and the film was in post production. In Christopher Nolan’s words in his tribute to Ledger in Newsweek; “Heath was bursting with creativity. It was in his every gesture. He once told me that he liked to wait between jobs until he was creatively hungry. Until he needed it again. He brought that attitude to our set every day. There aren’t many actors who can make you feel ashamed of how often you complain about doing the best job in the world. Heath was one of them”.