For most of the people affected by Heath Ledger‘s unexpected death, it’s difficult enough to simply absorb the shock and grief. For the executives overseeing Ledger’s final projects, however, some difficult decisions need to be made — and with millions of dollars at stake, they need to be made sooner than later.
As Variety reports, there are two films most immediately affected by Ledger’s passing — Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight and Terry Gilliam‘s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus — and they face very different concerns.
While production on The Dark Knight is believed to have been “largely completed,” the film’s early marketing campaign has focused almost entirely on Ledger as the Joker. Warner Bros. must now decide how to proceed with advertising for the Batman Begins sequel — and then start figuring out how to carry on with the character in further installments.
For Parnassus director Terry Gilliam, the thorny issues facing Warner Bros. must sound like a walk in the park. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus started shooting in December, and wasn’t due to wrap until March — and now that the production’s biggest star has died, producers need to figure out what to do with the footage. According to Variety, the film’s insurance company will likely have the final choice of three options: “Replace Ledger in the role, shoot around him or shut down the production entirely.”