Jonathan Majors Says Heath Ledger in Dark Knight Inspired His Career: He Didnt Give a F*ck

Jonathan Majors knew that cinema deserved a better class of criminal, and Heath Ledger’s turn in “The Dark Knight” certainly gave it to Hollywood.

Majors, a high school senior in 2008 when Christopher Nolan’s second Batman installment debuted, reflected on the lasting impression of Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as the Joker.

“First of all, he’s gorgeous,” Majors told Entertainment Weekly. “He’s got that fucking jawline, and he didn’t give a fuck. He threw his body around. He was so full. And I went, ‘I’m coming for that. I’m inspired.’ It takes a lot, you feel me? To be inspired.”

Majors, who has already made waves as new MCU villain Kang the Conqueror in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” is starring as an antagonist in “Rocky” spin-off “Creed III” opposite director Michael B. Jordan.

“The way I grew up, the people I grew up around, drug dealers, killers, murderers, everybody was just coming out of jail. Everybody had an ankle monitor on. So I knew the complexity of the guys I grew up with,” Majors recalled, citing how Ledger’s Joker performance embodied the duality of his own past. “Yeah, you did do that, but you also did this. And what I saw in Heath, and in everything he did, was: It’s this and that.”

The “Magazine Dreams” star summed up, “If you can find a haven of comfort in being seen, that’s helpful. If you can watch a film and be inspired to work out, great. Inspired to love somebody better, great. Inspired to be a better best friend, great. That’s the business I’m in.”

Majors penned an essay on “The Dark Knight” for Variety in December 2022, writing that the film is one of the “rare” movies that “entertains at the highest cinematic rung while simultaneously challenging its audience with each frame to reach higher in their own self and social knowledge.”

Majors added, “My 18-year-old self sat in the cinema long after the credits rolled, gobsmacked by a beauty and complexity of humanity hitherto unwitnessed in cinema and dare I say in my own existence.”

Steven Spielberg additionally said that “The Dark Knight” would have “definitely garnered a Best Picture nomination” if released after the Academy Awards expanded its Best Picture nominations list to 10 films at the time.

“It came late for the film that should have been nominated a number of years ago, Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight,’” Spielberg said. “That movie would have definitely garnered a Best Picture Nomination today, so having these two blockbusters solidly presented on the top 10 list is something we should all be celebrating.”

“The Dark Knight” was released in 2008 and acted in part as a catalyst for the Academy’s decision to expand the Best Picture nominations list. The film was nominated for eight Oscars, with Heath Ledger posthumously winning Best Supporting Actor. Joaquin Phoenix later won Best Actor for portraying the same Joker character in the eponymously titled Todd Philipps 2019 film.

“Black Panther” became the first superhero film nominated for Best Picture in 2019.

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