When Heath Ledger yelled “Hit me” as the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight, he really meant it, as revealed by newly-printed interviews in 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Joseph McCabe. The book released last Sunday, and excerpts from McCabe’s interviews with Christian Bale, Chris Nolan, and Ledger were reprinted in the Hollywood Reporter.
In a prior interview, Christian Bale said of Ledger’s performance, “He’s so much more interesting than me and what I’m doing.” In the new interview, Bale speaks of Ledger’s total commitment to making the memorable interrogation scene look realistic:
“Our first scene was in an interrogation room together, and I saw that he’s a helluva actor who’s completely committed to it and totally gets the tone that Chris [Nolan] is trying to create with this. […] As you see in the movie, Batman starts beating the Joker and realizes that this is not your ordinary foe. Because the more I beat him the more he enjoys it. The more I’m giving him satisfaction. Heath was behaving in a very similar fashion. He was kinda egging me on. I was saying, ‘You know what, I really don’t need to actually hit you. It’s going to look just as good if I don’t.’ And he’s going, ‘Go on. Go on. Go on….’ He was slamming himself around, and there were tiled walls inside of that set which were cracked and dented from him hurling himself into them. His commitment was total.”
Here’s the scene, for reference: