Will Heath Ledger Death Affect The Dark Knight Previews?

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Another Joker Pic
While the marketing campaign for The Dark Knight is inconsequential when compared with the effects of Heath Ledger's tragic death, it's still something the studio will need to consider.

Principal photography on the movie finished in the fall; and, as of Tuesday, the film is still scheduled for a July 18 opening.

But the status of the picture'ss marketing campaign is uncertain. The first phase is built around The Joker, with images of his character particularly ghoulish.

Warner executives were still grappling with the news on Tuesday and had no comment on how they would proceed.

"The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news," said Alan Horn, president-COO, Warner Bros. & Jeff Robinov, president, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. "Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person."

In terms of The Dark Knight, one insider lamented:

"The Joker character is dealing with chaos and life and death and a lot of dark themes. Everyone is going to interpret every line out of his mouth in a different way now."

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The Dark Knight Quotes

See, I'm a man of simple tastes. I like gunpowder...and dynamite...and gasoline! Do you know what all of these things have in common? They're cheap!

The Joker

I had a vision, of a world without Batman. The mob ground out a little profit and the police tried to shut them down, one block at a time. And it was so... boring. I've had a change of heart. I don't want Mr.Reese spoiling everything, but why should I have all the fun? Let's give someone else a chance. If Coleman Reese isn't dead in sixty minutes then I blow up a hospital.

The Joker