Page last updated at 08:32 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 09:32 UK

Stars' tributes to Ledger's Joker


Clips from The Dark Knight, with Heath Ledger playing The Joker

Heath Ledger's co-stars have paid tribute to him at the world premiere of the new Batman film in New York.

Ledger's performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight has prompted speculation that he may win a posthumous Oscar for the role.

"It's the best performance of a villain I have seen," said co-star Sir Michael Caine, who walked down a black carpet.

The movie is dedicated to the actor, who died aged 28 following an accidental drug overdose in January.

"My feeling is that he will get a nomination, I would be very surprised if he didn't get the Oscar - he has my vote anyway," said Sir Michael.

'Classic portrayal'

Gary Oldman, who plays Lieutenant Jim Gordon in the film, said: "I haven't seen a villain like this, or a bad guy like this, since Dennis Hopper played Frank Booth in Blue Velvet - this out-scares Hannibal Lecter."

Cast of The Dark Knight

Director Christopher Nolan said: "What we wanted to do was create a villain that's iconic and terrifying, I think, but also recognisably human.

"And I think Heath does that in a very interesting way - I think people are going to be blown away."

Christian Bale, who returns as Bruce Wayne in the film also praised Ledger's performance.

"He's created this anarchic, Sid Vicious-like, punk rock Joker, unlike any Joker that's been seen before. I think it's a real classic portrayal that will be remembered for ages.

"It is tragic he is not here, but I am here to see his talents and celebrate it and I hope everybody will."

Co-star Aaron Eckhart added: "I'm so sad he's not here with us and doing these interviews right now, but we are going to honour him tonight."

The Dark Knight follows Batman as he sets out to destroy organised crime in Gotham City for good.

The film will have its London premiere on 21 July, ahead of its UK release on 25 July.

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