Backstage with Heath Ledger’s Family

Kate, you seem to be relatively calm and you must have been very nervous, and secondly, you mention that you and Heath had had the discussion that maybe this would be something he would be at. Tell us about that discussion.

Kate – When he came home for Christmas a year ago, he had been sending me shots and bits of pieces of the film, no one had really seen it. And he knew. And I said to him, ‘How are you feeling?’ And I said, ‘You’re gonna get a nomination from the Academy.’ So he just looked at me and smiled, so he knew.

Are you going to be taking the statuette home to Australia or keep it in the States?

Kate – Obviously, it belongs to Matilda, so whatever has to happen in the meantime, we’re not too sure at this stage…It’ll end up with Matilda.

Kim – We’re going to keep it with the Oscars. In this special circumstance, they’ll hold it for Matilda. She can’t get it until she’s 18, it will be in trust here.

I was just wondering what was going through your mind when you heard Heath Ledger’s name read.

Sally – I think we were a little overwhelmed, actually. as much as we thought it was a pretty amazing job, you just don’t know, do you? We were really relieved and excited. It’s fantastic.

Heath went through this awards season with "Brokeback Mountain," he never seemed to love it. What do you think he would have made of this entire season we’ve been through?

Sally – I think he would have been quietly pleased, because he enjoyed the performance he did. He was very proud of what he did. Heath was never one to be over the top with everything. I think he would be really quietly pleased that it’s being recognized by his peers in the industry.

As the parents of Heath Ledger, did you know you were raising a potential Oscar winner? And how aware is Matilda of all this fuss?

Kim – I think Michelle keeps Matilda closeted in a nice way, so I don’t think she’ll know very much about the fuss of what’s going on.  Michelle will make the decisions here when it’s appropriate to celebrate this kind of thing. ..

Well, Kate was the actor originally, but I guess Heath was ever the clown and just always … all my kids for some reason just watch films and love it all and Heath’s been like that since a very early age and always acting the fool and playing around just like a normal kid does. One thing that stuck out in our minds is that he was extremely talented in a lot of areas and a lot you won’t know about, you may in the future. It always worried me as a parent – God, Heath, you’ve got to find something you’re good at and stick to it because you’ve got to make a buck off it. He certainly had an immense passion for this. From the age of 12 on it became extremely apparent that he was good at what he was doing and we parents were behind him to do what was best for him.

This isn’t the last we’ll see of Heath on screen. Have you seen any footage from the next film ("The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus")?

Kate – We have seen a little bit of footage, he only completed a third of the film. And then we’ve had some incredible actors, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell and Jude Law, and I think it’s gonna be amazing and Terry’s amazing and Heath always had such enthusiasm and interest in what Terry was doing.

What of Heath do you see in Matilda?

Sally – I think you just have to look at Matilda to know she’s totally like her Daddy. She has the same mannerisms. I really feel he’s in her. She has this boundless energy. It’s a delight to be watching her and see she’s full of the same energy and she looks a little like him too.

Have you spoken to Matilda’s mother, Michelle Williams, and do you expect to?

Kate – Not just yet, but we’re very close to Michelle and she’s doing an amazing job with Matilda. We speak all the time and are in constant contact and always will be.