It turns out that Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight has been hiding a ‘dark’ secret in its supersized runtime. According to one of the movie’s actors, The Dark Knight‘s lethal pencil scene was just as dangerous as it looked and could’ve killed him.
Swooping into cinemas after the acclaimed Batman Begins, Nolan brought back Christian Bale as Gotham City’s protector, Gary Oldman as the moustachieod Jim Gordon, and introduced Heath Ledger’s legendary turn as the Joker. Ledger’s Mr. J was just as unhinged as you’d expect Batman’s famous foe to be and tore through the movie with a violent streak.
There were so many standout moments for Ledger’s Joker, but the violent pencil scene (literally) sticks out more than most. For those who need a refresher, Joker burst in on a mob meeting and showed the disgruntled goons a ‘magic trick’ by killing one of the background characters via stationery. You can check it out below in all its gory glory.
Speaking to MovieWeb, stunt actor Charles Jarman revealed that he could’ve been killed by the pencil trick. “I remember [director] Christopher Nolan saying to me, ‘Look, we’re going to do a couple of shots where you need to be able to take that pencil away'” said Jarman.
His job was to sweep his hand across the table and pull the pencil away before Ledger impaled him on it. Jarman continued, “It was a little hairy, because the pencil’s stuck in the table. If, for some reason, I didn’t get my hand in time, we wouldn’t be having this conversation… Well, possibly through a Ouija board.”
Ledger delivered a chilling performance throughout The Dark Knight. Alongside the opening scene, sewing a bomb inside a criminal, and leading to the creation of Two-Face by trying to blow up Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent, the pencil scene was one of the Joker’s many violent acts in Nolan’s masterpiece.
Thankfully, the superhero sequel struck a chord with fans and critics alike as it got the last laugh and was all anyone was talking about at the 2009 Academy Awards in — even earning Ledger a posthumous award for Best Supporting Actor.
To this day, The Dark Knight is held as one of the greatest movies of all time, and in many circles, the best superhero movie there has ever been. However, we’d recommend you don’t try recreating your own pencil trick at home!
[Featured Image: Warner Bros.]