Heath Ledger Wasn't Willing To Put His Health On The Line For A Knight's Tale

Gather round, for it is "A Knight's Tale" I am speaking of! Over two decades have passed since the captivating underdog story satiated audiences with its thrilling jousting sequences and anachronistic soundtrack. Why, listen to such divine artists as Queen, David Bowie, and AC/DC roar across the list field, matching the enthusiasm of the spectators. The harmony of such entertainment could overshadow the joust, but alas, try as they may, it is the one, the only, Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight") who exemplifies the fiery beating heart of such a picture.

Only here could you see such a magnificent illustration of a striking being like Ledger as William Thatcher, a talented peasant squire with lofty aspirations of becoming a knight and bringing respect to his family name. While impersonating a knight carries the danger of significant consequences, he quickly proves his worth in his former master's armor and wows the crowd with his jousting prowess. Inspired by his act of mischievous rebellion, young Thatcher, in accordance with his loyal entourage, demands entrance into the hallowed gates of noblemen through the sheer force of their will, their determination, and most importantly, the power of rock.

But with great honors come great challenges. One cannot simply just jump up on a horse and claim victory, for with jousting comes great peril at the hands of the rider. Ledger, as charming as he may be, recognized that some stunts upon the steed are best handled by the professionals.

I'm Ulrich von Leichtenstein from Guilderland, and these are my stunt men

In an interview with Cinema.com, Ledger speaks on leaving the beautiful but dangerous art of jousting to the stunt crew, who apparently took quite the battle scar home with them:

"We did as much of it as we could, but I'm really not willing to ride a horse towards another rider at full speed and hit them with a stick – or get hit myself. It was just way too f***king dangerous. Stunt guys were getting injured badly. One guy had his jaw ripped back, and had 15 stitches and was back on the horse two weeks later — and it happened again. They were really hitting each other. Unbelievable! So I'd like to have given it a shot, but... (laughs)."

That sounds like a terrifying excursion for any stuntman to experience. No art is worth the harm that comes to those that produce it. In that case, it seems as if Ledger stepping down from some of the most impactful blows was the best case possible. But make no mistake, Ledger can be seen riding the mighty stallion in many shots featured in the finished film.

If you're wondering how exhausting it was to commit to the bit for the sake of this article, know, dear readers, that I had the spirit of Paul Bettany's absorbing wordsman, Geoffrey Chaucer, valiantly guiding my writer's brain through it. Now go, my audience, and tell others what you have just learned here!

"A Knight's Tale" is currently streaming on Starz.