The Dark Knight stuntman reveals how easily The Jokers pencil trick could have killed him

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The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger made a pencil disappear in the famous Dark Knight scene (The Dark Knight/WarnerBros)

It didnt look like the kind of magic trick you wanted to try at home.

But now the victim in The Jokers rather terrifying pencil trick has revealed how close he came to sudden death in making the trick on the 2008 set of The Dark Knight.

Charles Jarman was the actor whose character was instantly killed when his head was plunged into an upright pencil by Heath Ledgers villainous Joker and now he says there was absolutely no special effects involved.

Ten years on, he told MovieWeb this week: I remember [director] Christopher Nolan saying to me, “Look, were going to do a couple of shots where you need to be able to take that pencil away.”

The actors job was then to sweep the pencil – which had been smashed into the table – out from under his own face while Heath forced it violently towards the table.



Charles explained: We did a couple of half-speed rehearsals just to get the hand action of my right hand sweeping across, taking the pencil as my body was going down, and my head striking the blank surface.

He continued: It was a little hairy, because the pencils stuck in the table. If, for some reason, I didnt get my hand in time, we wouldnt be having this conversation… Well, possibly through a Ouija board.

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It was widely considered that the Batman sequel should have received the Best Picture prize at the Academy Awards the following year.

Heath was rightfully awarded the Best Supporting Actor gong for his menacing part as The Joker, though it was to be a posthumous achievement.

On his preparation for the psychopathic role, Heath told Empire in 2007: I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices — it was important to try to find a somewhat iconic voice and laugh.

I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath — someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts.

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