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28 October 2014
FILMS - Interviews

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Heath Ledger
Ned Kelly
Written by David Michael
updated 25th September 2003


Heath Ledger
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Interview with director Gregor Jordan

Read our review of "Ned Kelly"

Heath Ledger reteams with director Gregor Jordan, whose film "Two Hands" made Ledger a star in Australia, for "Ned Kelly". Since "10 Things I Hate About You" broke him in America, he's turned down many a teen movie and even "Spider-Man". Looking to bounce back after historical epic flop "The Four Feathers", Ledger hopes to bring Australia's most famous outlaw some much needed onscreen justice.

What did you take as the source Ned Kelly story to draw from?
What, apart from Mick Jagger? [Laughs] The Peter Carey book, "The True History of the Kelly Gang". I liked it. It gave me a good little voice in my head. But also "Our Sunshine", the Robert Drewe book, and the rest I just got from portraits of Ned. The day before he was to be hung, he requested these portraits to be taken and sent to his family and friends. There's this close-up portrait shot. I got more out of that portrait of him than any book I read. Just his eyes - so much dignity, so proud, and strong.

Weren't there some studio concerns over what kind of beard you should have?
Yeah, originally they wanted me to have this ridiculous little Clint Eastwood beard. They thought a big beard would put off young, female viewers.

What was the difference working with director Gregor Jordan ("Buffalo Soldiers") on "Ned Kelly", as opposed to the Australian film "Two Hands"?
It was still the same, because he's my best friend. There's nothing like working with your mates - it's the way it should be, as far as I'm concerned. We didn't have to discover each other; we know each other like the back of our hand, so it was great.

You're quite selective when choosing roles. Do you feel saying no to things, and being patient, got you further quicker?
Definitely. You know, I'm not in a hurry, and everybody else in Hollywood - particularly agents and managers - they're all in a hurry. They want you to snap up anything because they don't think you're going to be around tomorrow unless you keep working. It's also understanding that it's what you say yes to that does more damage to you, than what you say no to. Obviously no one's going to see the stuff you turn down, so I was aware of that. You've got to be careful; you've got to map out your career and stay true to that. Had I listened to my agent, I'd be running around in tights, climbing buildings and stuff.

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