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Vanity Fair Ledger Story Must-Read

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 17, 2009 at 2:27AM

I scarfed up Peter Biskind's Vanity Fair cover story on Heath Ledger (which is finally online). It all makes (tragic) sense. Ledger was yet another gifted performer (from Judy Garland on) who was far happier in the zone in front of the camera than anywhere else. He pushed himself too hard. And he sought comfort (and sleep) from drugs.
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I scarfed up Peter Biskind's Vanity Fair cover story on Heath Ledger (which is finally online). It all makes (tragic) sense. Ledger was yet another gifted performer (from Judy Garland on) who was far happier in the zone in front of the camera than anywhere else. He pushed himself too hard. And he sought comfort (and sleep) from drugs.

The people who knew Ledger well loved him. And he had a special bond with director Terry Gilliam. Biskind's story makes me really regret that I missed The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, which played late in the Cannes festival after I left. Gilliam sent me an invite to a screening---in London. The movie still doesn't have a domestic distributor. It sounds like the quintessential Gilliam movie. Gilliam was my first published Q & A in Film Comment in 1981, at the time of Time Bandits.

So I will have to settle for selected footage at Comic-Con next week, and maybe some Gilliam access. And hope that someone steps up to release the movie.

Originally posted on Variety.com

This article is related to: Franchises, Hollywood, Batman


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.