Though he died last week at 28 years old, Heath Ledger’s performance in “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” will live on despite the fact that much of director Terry Gilliam’s new flick is still left to be filmed, co-star Christopher Plummer told People.
“Terry’s throwing himself into the job of trying to salvage the picture,” Plummer told the mag. “Terry was a very good friend [of Ledger’s]. He very [much] wants to go on with the movie, and I can very much understand why. Because he wants to dedicate it to Heath, of course.”
The film, which moved to Vancouver last week after exterior shoots in London, centers on a Faustian bargain between the aged Dr. Parnassus (Plummer) and the Devil (Tom Waits), with Ledger as a magical interloper on a parallel quest.
Speaking with MTV News in November, Ledger said of the film’s plot, “Terry couldn’t even tell you what the movie is about. It’s mind-bending. I really don’t know how to sum it up.”
That type of fantastical vagueness that could be called typical of Gilliam’s twisted imagination — and it may, in fact, turn out to be the film’s very salvation, Plummer said.
“Fortunately, because the film deals with magic, there is a way, perhaps, of turning Heath into other people,” Plummer said. “I think they call it CGI.”
In the film, Ledger’s character reportedly enters several magical mirrors on his journey. Each time that happens, he could theoretically emerge looking entirely different, meaning Gilliam — who also worked with Ledger on 2005’s “The Brothers Grimm” — would almost certainly have to cast several actors for the same role. Rumors are flying online that one of those actors could be Johnny Depp, who previously worked with Gilliam on both “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and the ill-fated “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” Representatives for Depp made no comment by press time.
According to People, Plummer said Ledger was in “high spirits” at the end of the London shoot.
“He was just enjoying himself tremendously,” Plummer told the mag. “It’s a rather fanciful script, and he was wonderful in this role. He was terribly likeable and obviously enormously talented. The combination was terrific. It’s such a shame these things have to happen to the good ones.”
For more on Heath Ledger’s tragic passing, read reactions from his admirers, as well as casting directors he worked with. Also, watch Ledger talk about his evolution as an actor in a 2005 interview with MTV News.