It's been over a week since I first heard the news of Heath Ledger's tragic and untimely death, and he's still on my mind.
I've quit watching Entertainment Tonight to get updates on the investigation into his death, I've pretty much ignored the "was it an overdose or not?" frenzy, and I've even stopped leafing through my copy of last week's People magazine, in which, of course, his death was front-page news.
But still, I think about Heath Ledger, many times throughout the day. I'll suddenly remember a scene from "10 Things I Hate About You" (one of my favourite movies in high school that I watched over and over again), or from "A Knight's Tale" (one of my favourite movies in college that I watched over and over again), and it kind of takes my breath away in this weird, surreal way.
How can he be gone?
I know that Heath Ledger is not the first young actor to die before his time, but I guess he's the first one that has really affected me. I wasn't exactly Heath's #1 die-hard fan or anything like that, but if I heard he was in an upcoming flick, I'd get excited about it, and make a mental note to go see it. He was definitely one of my favourite actors, and it's still unsettling to me to know that he's no longer out there, making movies and living his life.
Last week, in the wake of his death, I went out and bought two movies that Heath starred in that I did not already have in my large DVD collection: "Four Feathers" and "Brokeback Mountain". I wanted to own as much of Heath as I possibly could, so that I can make him come alive on my TV screen anytime I want.
Strangely enough, I haven't been able to bring myself to watch either of them yet. I watched several movies over the weekend and the past few evenings - "Hairspray" and "X-Men" (thanks to my new James Marsden fetish), and "300" (hello, Gerard Butler). Each time I went to pop a disc in the DVD player, I toyed with idea of watching one of Ledger's movies, but I just couldn't do it.
I'm really not sure why. It's like it's still too raw and unbelievable to me, and while I've seen many pictures and shots of him on TV, I'm still not ready to sit down and watch any of the movies he actually starred in, even though I've already seen most of them. Very odd, considering he's in my thoughts so often these days.
I guess the truth is I'm not ready to let him go yet. I'm not ready to move on. Rather than watching his movies and remembering the great actor he was, I'd prefer to imagine he's still out there, walking the streets in Brooklyn in his grungy clothes, Matilda on his shoulders, a little smirk on his face.
Yeah. That's definitely the Heath I want to remember...