January 23, 2008

The death of Heath Ledger on Tuesday is likely to pose a considerable marketing problem for Warner Bros., which is due to release the Batman movie The Dark Night on July 18, in which Ledger plays The Joker. Daily Variety pointed out that one of the first posters to be released in advance of the film's opening shows Ledger as The Joker drawing a clown's smile on a mirror with lipstick and the words, "Why So Serious?" A studio insider told the trade publication: ""The Joker character is dealing with chaos and life and death and a lot of dark themes. ... Everyone is going to interpret every line out of his mouth in a different way now." Meanwhile, original reports by New York police that Ledger died of a probable drug overdose were revised. An NYPD spokesman said late Tuesday that no illegal drugs were found in his apartment, although prescription sleeping pills were found near his bed. Meanwhile, Editor & Publisher commented today (Wednesday),"If you watched the story of Heath Ledger's death explode chaotically across the Internet, with facts, errors, inconsistencies and confusions flying every which way, you may have concluded that in the new digital media's race to break stories in minutes, accuracy has been left in the dust." It warned that while in the past, journalists had hours to vet and craft a story, reporting now often "unfolds in real time."

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