Heath Ledger’s legendary performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight was terrifying, wondrous, and beautiful. One of the more memorable scenes features the Joker’s now-famous line, “Why so serious?” The scene has Joker telling Gotham City crime boss, Gambol, (who had recently put a price on Joker’s head) how he got his scars. The actor who portrayed Gambol, Michael Jai White, recently spoke with ComicBookMovie about his experience working with Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger. You can check out what he had to say below.
“Well, it’s a little bitter-sweet because Heath is no longer with us. It’s hard for me to say, ‘It was great’ knowing the outcome shortly after. It was a great opportunity to work with someone like Christopher Nolan. That was amazing. To be around such genius, who were just so…regular. Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger are so amazing, but also some of the most down to Earth people you ever want to meet. That was really the bonus in working on that movie.”
White continued, explaining that Gambol’s end at the hands of the Joker wasn’t originally intended. White says he was briefed about Gambol returning to Gotham in an attempt to take over the city. This may have been an idea for what eventually became The Dark Knight Rises.
“I was told about the plan for Gambol to come back and try and take over Gotham City. I think a lot of those plans got scrapped after what happened to Heath. I don’t know. I was never told directly why the change was made. For anybody who sees the movie, you know there was kind of an obtuse cut where you don’t know what happened to my character. You know, there’s a knife in my mouth and next I’m on the floor. With a movie with a budget that size, there’s seldom any grey moments [Laughs]. My character wasn’t written to die, that’s why that weird editing is there. It was never intended as a death scene.”
Interesting. I always thought the cut was unusual but thought it was likely done to avoid an R-rating. Watching the scene again and taking into account what White said above, yeah it does look like a ‘fix ‘ edit now. I won’t be able to watch it any other way now. Which is not a big deal, surely worth the trade for the interesting information on Gambol.
Plans for Gambol to attempt a take over of Gotham City isn’t all I discovered about the Dark Knight Trilogy while writing this article.
I was today years old when I learned the Joker lifts himself up off the table by stabbing two of Gambol’s henchmen.
Why so serious? Relax and post your thoughts in the comments down below!