Hours after Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment, the production of his next indie project "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" was reportedly stopped. According to Us Magazine, the film's crew members who have just moved to the Vancouver set were sent home following the death of the 28-year-old actor.
To the magazine, the on-set source confessed, "I just got the call [Tuesday] saying everyone was being let go." The source then added, "We were supposed to start this weekend, but obviously they fired everyone today. They don't know yet what they are doing with the footage that was already shot. Right now, everyone is in complete shock and can't even speak."
By the time of the Australian actor's death, the film was on a break after going through the first phase of filming in London last December. Earlier, Variety reported that the blue screen work was due to begin next week in Vancouver and continue until early March, but up until now the producers have yet to issue any statement about the proceeding plan.
"Imaginarium" is a story of an ancient travelling show which arrives in modern London with a magical mirror that can transport its audience into fantastical realms of the imagination. Aside from Ledger, the ensemble cast include Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole and singer Tom Waits. The movie is produced by Samuel Hadida, Bill Vince and Amy Gilliam, and financed through Davis Film, Hadida's Paris-based film company.
In the $30 million film directed by Terry Gilliam, the "Brokeback Mountain" star is portraying a mysterious outsider who joins the Dr. Parnassus theater troupe on a quest through parallel worlds to save Parnassus' daughter from the clutches of the devil. His last on-set photos were taken on January 19.
Aside from the "Imaginarium" project, it is also reported that the new Joker in "The Dark Knight" has been working on what would have been his directorial debut. Allegedly, he was working with British writer and producer Allan Scott on an adaptation film from Walter Tevis' novel entitled "The Queen's Gambit". Further, it was said that the leading role has been offered to the "Juno" star Ellen Page, while he would play a supporting role. According to Variety, in an interview last month, the "Imaginarium" director Gilliam commented about Ledger being a director stating, "Heath is extraordinary. He's just so good, and he's going to be a film director. He's watching everything, and he's going to be a much better director than I will ever be."