After enjoying a breakfast of French toast with blueberries and raspberries, Heath Ledger joins me at the Regency Hotel in NYC to discuss his new biopic I’m Not There, in theaters tomorrow. He’s dressed down in a green sweater and jeans, and nursing a pesky cough. Getting antsy, he strips off the sweater to reveal a blue earth t-shirt — and an “X” tattoo on his forearm. The 28-year-old Aussie is chewing gum, and he takes his hat off to reveal a small ponytail as he settles into place.
With his dashing demeanor and quirky humor, Heath is instantly likeable. “Wake up!” he says.
Is this a movie only Bob Dylan fans will understand?
“I don’t think you need to be a Dylan genius to appreciate it as a story and a film,” he says. “It is a movie. It’s not a quiz. Quite frankly, I think the less you know the better off you’ll be because you’re not going to be straining yourself and trying to digest every line of dialogue. You just strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.”
Heath says he planned to get to know Dylan’s music later in life.
“I was definitely a fan of Dylan,” he says. “He was someone I had scheduled in the future to become obsessed by, because I do get obsessed with musicians and artists. I think I was prematurely invited into the obsession on this one.”
Heath recently split from girlfriend of three years Michelle Williams, who also appears in the movie. They are both parents to Matilda, 2.
“He’s the most loving father,” direrctor Todd Haynes tells me. “He’s so devoted to that little girl, Matilda, and she looks exactly like him. She’s like a little, mini walking Heath. She’s adorable.”