Heath Ledger’s Death May Have Contributed To Gambol’s Strange Exit In ‘The Dark Knight’

Warner Bros.

It’s The Dark Knight‘s tenth anniversary, and you’d think there’d be nothing more to learn about the Batman tale, as extensively considered and picked over as it is. But there’s a surprising bit veteran action star Michael Jai White revealed recently, that his character, Gambol, had a bigger role in the movie.

White, for the record, is clear he doesn’t hold a grudge over what happened to Gambol, who in the final cut dies from the same infamous Glasgow smile that was inflicted (or perhaps self-inflicted) on the Joker. The scene’s an abrupt bit of business that suddenly and brutally ties off a loose end most movies would ignore. And according to White (via the Hollywood Reporter), a lot of that suddenness is because it didn’t end there:

It was the kind of thing where they had deeper intentions for Gambol; it was a character who was written for future use, I think. There were other plans to do stuff with that character and some things that were cut out. I think it’s because of unfortunately losing Heath Ledger….The character wasn’t supposed to be gone. That is something that happened in editing later… I have a producer’s and director’s mind-set, so I was able to look at it and think, ‘I guess they must have wanted to go this way.’

White doesn’t get into just what Gambol would have done had he survived, but one assumes he wouldn’t have been very happy with the Joker, and White also notes that he believes the decision had to do with Heath Ledger’s tragic passing. On that topic, White also spends quite a bit of time addressing the idea that Ledger was a tormented soul driven to his death by method acting, something that ticks White off. While he notes Ledger would do things like be in makeup to help others on the set stay in character, even when they weren’t filming him that day, he notes Ledger dropped character when the cameras stopped rolling and they shared a hobby behind the scenes:

He and I were trading a lot of magic tricks. He picked up some sleight of hand stuff, and I’m kind of an amateur magician myself. So Heath and I shared a lot of tricks on set, and we couldn’t wait to finish the shot so we could go back to doing that stuff.

Well, we guess it’s good to know more than one way to make a pencil disappear.

(via Hollywood Reporter)