A/V Room









Ned Kelly - Heath Ledger Q&A...

Compiled by: Jack Foley

EXTRACTS taken from the Australian press conference....

Q. What attracted you to the role of Ned Kelly?
Initially, it was just Gregor. On the other side of the coin, it was Gregor, I wanted to work with him again and it just happened to be this project.
And, I don't know, look, for obvious reasons, it felt like it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I happened to be at the right age. I'm around the same age that he was when he died. And that. I believed in him and that's it.
I just thought it would just be … I would learn a lot about myself and I'd learn a lot about my craft doing it. And I did and I had a lot of fun. And that's … and I think particularly because it's such an iconic Australian story and I really wanted to come home and work in Australia as well.

Q. What sort of research did you do for Ned Kelly?
I don't know. Look, at the end of the day, there's only so many books you can read on him and of those books, they really don't give you an accurate picture of how his heart, you know, how it beat and how he walked and talked and smiled and carried himself.
So, at the end of the day, I really had to have a stab in the dark and it's just my opinion on what he was like and, I don't know, I wanted to bring blood and bones to him.
He certainly held himself high. So I found a lot in his eyes in just that portrait.
And so the rest was just trusting my own instincts and blocking out everyone else's opinions. Because at the end of the day, everyone has their own opinion on what this guy was like and so this is just mine - ours.
Jordan: Jerilderie.
Ledger: Yeah. But in terms of literature, the Jerilderie letter was extremely vital. It was his heart, it was his word. It certainly provided me with his passion. And so I read that to myself every day.
And beside that, it was just the portrait of him two days before he was hung. He just had so much dignity and pride in his eyes for someone whose family had been beaten and locked up and his life had been turned upside down.

Q. What parts of yourself do you think you put into Ned; what part of your personality?
Most of my body, [laughs]

Q. Did you sometimes find yourself feeling like him?
Did I? Yeah, I did. I mean, we all had this pressure on our back to tell this story accurately, but it's impossible to tell this story accurately. I think everyone has been trying to do that for the last century. But, you know, I just had to turn a blind eye to that and just concentrate on what I was doing; and that.

Q. What did you discover about Ned Kelly and did you enjoy finding out about him?
Yeah. Look, I don't know. Because that was part of the mystery, was discovering who he was to start. I had to guess what my parallels would be to him and I figure the … I don't know. I guess just from the Jerilderie letter, I guess his passion in terms of standing up for what he believes in, standing up for his family.
You know, I'm certainly someone who if I'm shot at, I'd probably shoot back at them, too. So I certainly agreed with him on that.
Although my opinion on Ned will always be a biased one, because I had to play him and I had to feel like him and so I'll probably defend him to the grave, or something. [Laughs]

Q. What was it like wearing the armour? And was it heavy?
It was … actually, the armourer originally told all us boys, right, that it was 20 per cent lighter, just to shut us up so that we wouldn't whinge. And then we found out it was like 20 per cent heavier. [Laughs]
Though it wasn't that … it was pretty comfortable, wasn't it? It was heavy, but it was supposed to be heavy and we wanted it to be heavy. We wanted to feel like it was authentic and we wanted to believe the situation we're in and we did.
Jordan: We had the fibreglass suits as well.
Ledger: Yeah. They made fibreglass suits for us, but…
Jordan: We didn't use them.
Ledger: …yeah, we didn't use them.

Q. So is Ned a hero to you?
A hero, yeah, absolutely. Everything that Gregor just said five minutes ago, I couldn't agree more. I had … I have to believe that. I was portraying him. I do. He was a victim. But yeah, I feel like … certainly, you guys all covered that. Hero, for sure.

Q. This is your most challenging and high-profile role to date. Was there a tinge of regret once you had finished it? And what did you take away from the experience?
Yeah, definitely. It was certainly the most fun I've had to date, and yeah, it is. And it was really sad to put it down. I think we all kind of felt that towards the end of the movie, we didn't want him to die, again, you know. I certainly carry around a piece of him with me, still.

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