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Director Stephen Gaghan Shares New Tragic Details of Heath Ledger’s Death

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Stephen Gaghan and Heath Ledger. Getty Images (2)

Director Stephen Gaghan had an idea in the early 2000s to turn Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking into a movie — but the death of Heath Ledger stopped it from ever getting made.

“I just had to put a pin in it,” Gaghan, 58, recalled during an episode of the “Developmental Hell” podcast, which is an offshoot of Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” show. Gaghan detailed a 2008 phone call from Ledger’s dad, Kim Ledger, revealing that The Dark Knight star had died. (Ledger’s close friend was also on the call.)

“They were there with the body and our script was in bed with him, and your book was on the bedside table,” Gaghan told Gladwell. “I think my number was on the script, like, written. These guys, as you can imagine, they are in shock, and they dialed that number, and I don’t know why.”

Ledger died at age 28 on January 22, 2008, following an accidental drug overdose.

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Earlier in the “Developmental Hell” episode, the duo explained that they initially teamed up to develop Gladwell’s 2005 book Blink into a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio on board.

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DiCaprio, now 49, was “really involved” when it came to pitching the project to studios and getting it made, Gaghan explained. They had “essentially a green light at Universal [Studios]” for the project and things seemed to be working out. Gaghan started to revise the script, making their main character younger — a decision made after he met Ledger.

“I had met Heath Ledger and I’d gotten to be very very close with him instantly. I just had a real connection with him that was, kind of, unusual and very special to me,” Gaghan explained. “I got really excited, and I started seeing him as the main character. Once I started seeing that, I couldn’t unsee it.”

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However, the January 2008 phone call from Ledger’s dad changed the course of the project.

“I’m in an airport with my wife [Minnie Mortimer] just going from one place to another, and I literally just collapse, never happened to me before or since. My feet went out from under me. I just literally sat down because I was like, what?” Gaghan recalled. “The emotion, what they were going through, I should not have been a party to in any way really, and yet as a human or as somebody who just cares, I just was there and I was listening and my wife was looking at me. I remember her face and I was just like, I was speechless. I just listened and listened and listened. It was just really, really sad. And it’s still sad.”

Source: US Magazine

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