Stephen Gaghan has revealed for the first time heartbreaking new details about the tragic death of Heath Ledger.
The Hollywood director, 58, has spoken of the devastating phone call he received from Heath’s father Kim following the Australian actor’s death on January 22, 2008.
Heath tragically died of an accidental drug overdose in his New York apartment aged 28, and sixteen years later, Stephen has shared how he found out the news.
He was talking about Malcolm Gladwell. podcast Revisionist History: Development Hell, which explores projects that didn’t make it to the screen, about a movie Blink he had planned to make with Heath.
In the podcast, he explained how Heath was found with a copy of the Blink script next to him, while one of Malcolm Gladwell’s books was also on his nightstand.
Stephen Gaghan has revealed heartbreaking new details about Heath Ledger’s tragic death for the first time (Heath is pictured in December 2005)
The screenwriter told how Heath’s father, Kim, whom he had never met, saw his phone number in the script and called him after arriving at the scene in a moment of shock and grief.
Speaking for the first time about the call, he recalled: “The father and the man closest to him in his professional life were there with the body and our script was in bed with him, and the (Gladwell) book was on the little table at night.
‘I think my number was in the script, like written. These guys, as you can imagine, are shocked and they dialed that number and I don’t know why.’
Devastatingly, he said he “collapsed” upon hearing the heartbreaking news during the phone call, which occurred while he was at an airport with his wife Minnie Mortimer.
“I’m in an airport with my wife going from one place to another, and I literally collapse, something that has never happened to me before or since,” he said.
The Hollywood director (pictured in 2020), 58, spoke about the devastating phone call he received from Heath’s father Kim following the Australian actor’s death on January 22, 2008.
‘My feet came out from under me. I literally sat down because I was like, ‘What?’
“The emotion, what they were going through, I really shouldn’t have been a part of it in any way, and yet as a human being or as someone who just cares, I was just there and I was listening and my wife was looking at me.” .
‘I remember his face and I was speechless. I just listened and listened and listened. It was very, very sad. And it’s still sad. In my case, I just had to put a pin in it.’
Stephen also reflected on his “really special” bond with Heath and how he had planned to make “a bunch of movies” with the Joker star before his tragic death.
“I met Heath Ledger and became very, very close to him instantly. I had a real connection with him that was unusual and really special to me,” she shared.
Heath tragically died of an accidental drug overdose in his New York apartment at age 28, and was found with the script for the Stephen Blink film at his side.
“I had a feeling I loved this guy and was going to make a bunch of movies with him, and then I got (the) phone call.”
Stephen shared that he decided to ‘end’ his plans for the Blink movie after years of development following the news of Heath’s death.
He explained that he had previously considered Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead role, but after meeting Heath, he couldn’t see anyone but him playing the character.
Stephen is best known for his work on the 2020 film Dolittle, 2016’s Gold, and 2005’s Syriaa, as well as writing the screenplay for Steven Soderbergh’s film Traffic.