However, as everyone knows, Ledger’s Dark Knight performance wasn’t his last. The actor was filming Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” at the time of his death. The film was nearly scrapped until Jude Law, Johnny Depp, and Colin Farrell stepped forward to take over the role, which was hastily rewritten to accommodate multiple performances.
The film is now complete, but it’s future is still uncertain. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is having trouble finding a U.S. buyer and distributor.
Of course, Ledger’s association with the film has caused a lot of buzz and interest, but potential deals have dropped off. It has international distribution, which means audiences overseas will be able to see it, but American audiences might be left in the cold.
Rumors swirl that the film is too experimental and arthouse, and that not even Ledger’s performance could help it find it a wide audience. If the film’s plot is difficult to market, how much trickier will it be to sell “Dr. Parnassus” without being exploitative of Ledger’s death? It would certainly be far more tragic for his death to be used as a marketing “hook” than for the film to be denied a theatrical release.
Hopefully, American distributors will realize that the appeal of “Dr. Parnassus” isn’t just Ledger, but the performances of Depp, Law, and Farrell. Any one of these actors could fill a theater purely on his own appeal, after all. To have such a talented ensemble in one original film should be enough to entice any moviegoer, don’t you think?
MTV readers, is there a way to sell “Dr. Parnassus” without capitalizing on Ledger’s death? Is his final performance the only reason you would want to see it?