Ledger began his acting career in Australian soap operas before making his American debut in the teen romantic comedy 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) and went on to appear in commercially successful fare such as The Patriot (2000) and A Knight's Tale (2001). But he resisted the path of the typical Hollywood heartthrob by opting for challenging and -- as in Brokeback -- often unexpected roles, including a third-generation prison guard in Monster's Ball (2001), a heroin-addicted poet in Candy (2006) and a troubled actor in the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There (2007).
Ledger died Jan. 22, 2008, at age 28, soon after wrapping up filming for the 2008 Batman feature The Dark Knight, in which he plays the Joker, for which he won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
In this sequel to Batman Begins, the caped crusader teams with Lt. James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to continue dismantling Gotham City's criminal organizations. But a new villain known as the Joker threatens to undo their good work.