The world was shocked when Heath Ledger passed away in 2008 at the age of 28 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. The new documentary I Am Heath Ledger, premiering May 17 on Spike, gives fans an intimate look into the life of the beloved Australian actor through rare home videos, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with those who knew him.
In addition to his celebrated roles in Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight, Ledger’s career spanned a diverse array of projects including 2001’s A Knight’s Tale. In a preview clip exclusive to Us Weekly, Ledger explains why he almost pulled out of the film. Watch the sneak peek above.
“Heath really gave an incredible amount of dignity to his characters, even in a film that’s as sort of whimsical and light in its way as A Knight’s Tale,” recalls actor Ben Mendelsohn. “It’s very hard to be as solid as he was.”
A Knight’s Tale is set in the Middle Ages and notably features a soundtrack of classic rock songs. The movie also stars Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, James Purefoy and Alan Tudyk.
In the clip, Ledger narrates behind-the-scenes footage of one of the film’s dance rehearsals: “At first it was a shock. You know, I read: ‘Queen’s “We Will Rock You” rises as they enter the arena.’ I think I almost closed the script on that line because I was thinking, ‘Oh, it’s one of those movies that’s trying to mix the two,’ but as I read further into it, it explained itself. The rock and roll music destroys any barriers that are restricting as to historical truth. You know, it’s a fairy tale. We want the audience to walk in there and be transported.”
I Am Heath Ledger premieres on Spike Wednesday, May 17, at 10 p.m. ET.