Hello. Yeah. We’re going to go
on a mission right now. Yes, will you come with me?
Oh, you will. I’m going down the street
and I get a hit. Heath, Heath, Heath, Heath. Sure enough,
the next day I said, “I’m going to hear
about something, Heath. There’s something going on.”
The next day, I got your email. I honestly think
that the earth is off axis. I think there’s something that
is universally out of alignment with what happened. I’m not supposed to be
talking about this with you. This isn’t supposed
to be being made. This is fucked up.
This is not something that is supposed to be
happening right now. Heath was
the most alive human. If it wasn’t on the edge,
it didn’t interest him. If there wasn’t a risk,
some type of risk involved, he had no time for it. He went all the way out
in the time that he had. He went all the way
to the edge. Some people are just bigger
than the world has room for. One of the things that happens is when you’re good
at something in a movie, everyone offers you
that same thing. He did a great job being in a
teen romantic comedy, basically. Anything that resembled
10 Things I Hate About You came his way. Of course, that’s exactly
what he didn’t want to do next. He wanted to mix it up
and find a new challenge. That moment was
a very important next step. Okay, what do we want
to do next? What do we really want to do
if we have a choice? He was always very friendly. He never seemed
out of sorts about it, but he knew what he didn’t want.
He was always very appreciative of coming to a house
full of art and artists. I am filming right now. He got this camera, and he didn’t know what to do
other than to make something. It wasn’t just to film us
and film what we were doing. He was creating
something straight away. He always used to say to me,
“Don’t forget your camera,” and I was like, “What am I going to film
between here and there?” He was like, “I don’t care.
You could film your feet.” But we’d watch a lot
of our videos back. He was just curious,
and watching it, and thinking how he could
do things different. That’s how he learned. He never
studied anything, really. He was self-taught. He could really see
what he was doing and how to do that better
or different. Even if it was the way he smiled
or where he was looking, he’d make a lot of things
just for himself, just to teach himself. That’s right… “…Evil super-villains…” Evil super-villains. “…civilian men and women.” Who? Got it, boss. Let’s go! Okay, I’ve got my mission.
We’re at the peephole. You never know
who’s out there waiting. The screen test for The Patriot
came up with Mel Gibson, who’s the biggest
Australian movie star. That was one of his idols.
He loved Mad Max. It was a huge,
huge thing for him. It was an actual screen test
in costume on the set with the main star. Heath called me and said, “They’re not calling you
on this one. I just didn’t do well,” and it was something,
enough there, that Roland Emmerich
and the studio and Mel all looked at each other and, I think, said,
“You know, let’s take a shot.” This is first day shooting. This is the first day
on The Patriot for me. I’m looking forward to it. It’s been three months since
I found out I got this job, and finally, after three months
of sitting around thinking about it,
I get to go out there and do it. This is it. Blink my eyes,
and it’ll be out there. Guys, guys, Heath’s here, guys.
Everybody look alive. It was a huge production. It was a little terrifying to be
in another city with no friends, and you’re just sitting there
on your own. It’s a lonely life. Cut! That’s why he took me to
most places is that it was us. We met riding our bikes
out in the street, and we just became best friends.
We felt at home together. You could tell that he wanted
to do a good job. He was still learning. I’m not going back. No, I didn’t expect you would.
That Gates is a damn fool. He spent too many years
in the British army. Going muzzle to muzzle
with Redcoats in open field. It’s madness. He called me one day
from the set, really upset. He was having a hard time, and he was struggling,
just a crisis of confidence. He was probably in his head. He’s standing across from his
idol acting with Mel Gibson. For a young Aussie kid,
it was a lot. He would get caught up
in the fear of whether or not he could accomplish
what he wanted to do. He kind of almost pulled
out of every movie he ever ended up doing. Heath and I had mutual friends,
so it was a setup. We met, and that was it.
That was it. There were always
cameras around. A video camera, or a Polaroid
camera, or the film camera. I was amazed when I saw
all of the stuff together and how many photographs.
He was documenting everything. He was just surrounded by all
of those moments he was in, and then surrounded by them, but then he’d be capturing
the next moment and the next moment
and the next moment. Didn’t stop.
It never stopped. The way he was able
to be in the moment and then capture the moment
on the camera, he just got you
in your most authentic self. He really got me. I think that’s
a beautiful thing, because he’s saying through
his photographs, “I see you.” The art was more of a need,
almost, to live in the world
and then capture the world. That’s the only way
I think of him, with the camera in the hand.
That was just Heath. He was looking,
always for something that was going to be
truly challenging to try to figure out ways that he could absolutely
disappear into a character and almost be unrecognizable.
That’s what really drove him. In his process of picking
what film he was gonna do most of that came from
who was directing it. Shekhar was a director that
he always wanted to work with. He recommended Heath, myself, we go out in the desert
by ourselves, just the two of us. Heath stood there,
looking down the valley, and we both
just started yelling, trying to see how far
your voice will carry. It’s you and the desert. You’re forced to look
at yourself. The impression you have
of yourself when you look
in the mirror is up to you. You can see whatever
you want to see, and you can be
whoever you want to be. He was really at the start
of a journey that was a lot more focused
as an artist. Since we have to believe it,
for us the audience, to believe what you’re
putting out there, you must believe it yourself.
We all grew from that film. He told me that when
they wrapped his character, he stood in the middle
of the whole set and collapsed. Before Brokeback Mountain
came out, it would’ve been unthinkable
to have a romantic tragedy involving two gay cowboys, which are the very symbol
of American masculinity. This is one of the biggest
heartthrobs on Earth taking on that character. That’s balls,
and that’s an artist. When his name popped up
from casting I did have a little hesitation. I didn’t know at that time
if he can carry a movie, which is what he needed to do. There was no doubt in his mind
he was that person. If you can find
that character in you, then that’s your success.
That’s golden. That’s the magic. I have no doubt that he could
have done enumerable
more extraordinary performances and given those gifts
to the world. He was seeing the world in a way
that the rest of us didn’t and in a way
that the rest of us couldn’t. Time and convention meant
absolutely nothing to him. He had this light around him. Where he went
he shone light on people and made their lives better.