Christian Bale reveals that Heath Ledger insisted that he really be hit during The Dark Knight's famous interrogation room scene. This is unlikely to surprise anyone familiar with Ledger's career, as the late actor was well-known for being completely committed to the characters he played. Some would even argue that Ledger was a little too concerned with authentically portraying even the darkest of roles, but it can't be argued that the final product of his method acting wasn't usually good.
Still widely regarded as arguably the greatest superhero film of all time, The Dark Knight served as one hell of a final completed project for Ledger, although it would have obviously been preferable that he not died so young in the first place. Unfortunately, time travel still isn't a thing, so the best anyone can do is celebrate Ledger's impressive - if fairly brief - body of work, of which The Dark Knight's Joker is quite possibly his greatest achievement.
While The Dark Knight is packed full of iconic scenes, perhaps none are more memorable than the famous interrogation room confrontation between Ledger's Joker and Christian Bale's Batman. Commonly considered one of the best interactions between the two legendary characters in film history, the scene saw Batman brought in by Jim Gordon to try and get the missing Harvey Dent's whereabouts out of The Joker. As usual though, Joker got the last laugh, revealing to Batman that Rachel Dawes was also in grave danger. This led Batman to get brutally physical with his nemesis. During a recent chat with THR, Bale talked about how Ledger insisted that the hits be real.
"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."
The onscreen chemistry between Bale's Batman and Ledger's Joker in that scene is off the charts, and makes one wonder what might have been had Ledger lived. The rumored plan prior to Ledger's untimely death was that The Joker would have played a major role in The Dark Knight's sequel, although that assertion has been disputed. Either way, its hard to imagine that Joker wouldn't have made some type of appearance in what ended up being The Dark Knight Rises, had Ledger lived.
While there is much debate among fans about who the best live-action Batman or Joker actor is, it's at the very least arguable that no combination of actors managed to better embody the antagonistic yet symbiotic relationship between the two characters as well as Bale and Ledger. Back here in the present though, Batman - played by Ben Affleck - will next return to the big screen in Justice League, while The Joker is set to star in both his own origin movie and a movie focusing on his relationship with Harley Quinn.