Art and Empathy


The tragedy of losing a life as gifted as Heath Ledger’s continues to provide as many questions as answers.  Apparently today a friend came out blaming the new Batman movie for Ledger’s death, saying the role of Joker had gotten into his head so thoroughly he had not been able to sleep.  The insomnia, along with missing his daughter seems to have been the cause of stress that led to the huge amounts of presecription drugs that he accidently overdosed on. He obviously took the role as Joker very seriously…he looks brilliant in the role.

The article at FOX reminded me of an interview I had seen some time ago with Don Cheadle where he was asked about the liberal political positions taken by the Hollywood community. His response was that playing the roles of so many characters develops a sense of compassion and empathy in you, and keeps you from being so narrow minded. I thought his answer was pretty insightful.

I don’t want to over analyze this, but why would empathy move someone away from the truths we find in the Bible? Why would playing someone else’s story create problems in your own story the way it apparently did for Heath Ledger? This isn’t the first time we have seen this tragedy and heard of an intense role being the context of an actor’s depression. I would not make the leap to saying acting is a dangerous profession. The talents and gifts of the people we see on the big screen are unbelievable stamps of God’s grace, but I will say this: spend more time in your story than you do anyone else’s. The script may not always seem as dramatic, but it is your story, the one God wrote for you. It is a gift.

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1 Comment

Filed under Thoughts and Ideas

One response to “Art and Empathy

  1. Jon King

    so true, very relevant thoughts toward our culture.

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