Heath Ledger Death News Sweeps Through Sundance

Today was only the second day I made it up to Park City for Sundance and I had planned on doing a summary post of the day. Without a doubt the biggest news of the day was learning that Heath Ledger was dead.

That news utterly and completely swept the news of the Oscar nominees away. Everywhere I turned people were talking about Heath's death - most in shock and talking about what a tragedy it was. Some of the more pragmatic ones wondering how this would affect the release and marketing strategy for The Dark Knight, Heath's final completed film in which he has been getting rave reviews over his scenes as the Joker.

I'm not going to lie and say I was some huge fan of Ledger. I didn't dislike the guy - he just wasn't on my radar. The last film I saw him in was his 2001 movie A Knight's Tale. I never saw Brokeback Mountain because, frankly, the subject matter just didn't appeal to me.

However his death mere months before the release of a movie that I believe was going to propel him into bonafide star status is tragic. The closest analogy that popped into my head was the death of Bruce Lee just prior to the release of Enter the Dragon, which was a movie that had he lived would have propelled him into mainstream stardom.

Everyone was talking about it and wondering what happened. Of course the rumor mill works quickly and the "surrounded by pills" detail, which I'm pretty sure has turned out to be completely false was one of the first to surface. Some of the people I talked to were bloggers like myself, while others were print journalists with resources in the NY police department.

As far as I understand it, Heath had been having trouble sleeping for going on two weeks straight, getting no more than a couple of hours a night. Having once myself experienced five days straight with only a couple of hours sleep over the duration I can understand the desperate need to fall asleep after so much time.

Apparently he had an alcohol problem and had come home drunk last night. Wanting to fall asleep he combined his alcoholic state with sleeping pills (how many I do not know). He had an appointment with a masseuse this afternoon, and when the maid went in to wake him he would not. The masseuse also went in and they confirmed that he was dead. My sources say that he was found in a sleeping position and all indications point to an accidental death.

At one point Heath was engaged to Michelle Williams, but they had broken up back in September. They had a daughter together who is now just over two years old.

Aside from that today I watched three films which I will be reviewing over the next couple of days: Towelhead, a sexually explicit and cautionary coming of age tale about a 13 year old Lebanese girl, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden, a documentary by Morgan Spurlock about finding the roots of terrorism, and Choke, a movie based on a book by the author of Fight Club.

My condolences to Heath Ledger's family.

Heath Ledger was 28.

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