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Michelle Williams left a film inspired by the death of Heath Ledger

Reopen old wounds. michelle williams‘ The real-life tragedy with Heath Ledger inspired the film Bloodbut she decided she couldn’t play the lead role of the Sundance Film Festival award winner.

Blooddirected by Bradley Rust Grayfollows Chloe (Carla Juri), a young widow who travels to Japan after the death of her husband. She reconnects with an old friend, Toshi (Takashi Ueno), but she struggles to feel in love again.

Gray explained that he was friends with Williams, 41, and the film was inspired by his experience dealing with grief after Ledger’s death. The two started dating in 2004 after playing husband and wife in Brokeback Mountain. The co-stars welcomed daughter Matilda, now 16, the following year.

Ledger and Williams separated in 2007, just months before Ledger died of an accidental overdose in January 2008. He was 28.

At Sundance, where Blood debuted earlier this month, Bradley explained that he started developing the script with Williams as a collaborator, and the idea was that she would play the grieving widow.

“We both shared that weight, that of death, and the feeling that you still carry that weight when someone close to you dies,” Bradley shared via Weekly entertainment. “When we were getting ready to shoot the movie, she realized that everything was still a little too close for her, and she politely bowed out.”

Williams – who married hamilton director Thomas Kaill in March 2020 and welcomed her second child the following June — spoke openly about the grieving process and how Ledger’s passing changed her life.

“Now my life, our life, has sort of repaired itself. [Ledger’s death has] changed the way I see the world and my day-to-day interactions,” she said. vogue in September 2011. “It changed the parent that I am. It changed the friend that I am. It changed the kind of work I really want to do. It’s become the lens through which I view life – that everything is impermanent.

Although she pulled out of the film, Gray remains grateful to Williams, who found the title in a dream and helped him find the story he wanted to tell.

“It took me a long time to write the script because she’s such a transformative actress and after a while I thought what we shared in common was the feeling of loss, [which] she was going through that at that time in her life,” he said. The moving party during the January festival. “But when it got closer, it was a little too close, and it was actually okay because it opened up the movie then to be a little bit more universal. It would have been really interesting to do a movie with her on that. , but in a way, she was like a bridge. … In a way, I think I wouldn’t have developed this story [without her].”

Blood won the US Dramatic Special Jury Award for Uncompromising Artistic Vision at Sundance.

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Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes