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Johnny Depp to take up Heath Ledgers role

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Heath Ledger in Dark Knight
Washington (ANI): Heath Ledger's tragic death has put the already-launched ad campaign for the big-budgeted Batman sequel The Dark Knight, at stake. The Wall Street Journal has learned that Ledger's villainous character of the 'Joker' figures heavily in Warner Bros.' ad plan for the release. It also quoted a studio spokeswoman as saying that the marketing campaign would continue but declined further comment.

The movie's sales kicked off in October 2007 with an elaborate online teaser. The Dark Knight's trailer also debuted that month, with both the prologue and trailer featuring Ledger's Joker. The movie's poster also stars Ledger in his Joker makeup, with the slogan "Why So Serious?" scrawled in red. With The Dark Knight still in post-production in Hollywood, the Journal reports that some of Ledger's dialogue may still need to be re-recorded.

On Wednesday, Warner Bros. issued a statement, saying that the studio was stunned and devastated by the tragic news of Ledger"s death. "The studio is stunned and devastated by this tragic news. The entertainment community has lost an enormous talent. Heath was a brilliant actor and an exceptional person. Our hearts go out to his family and friends," People quoted the issued statement.

Johnny Depp may step in for tragic Heath Ledger in what has turned out to be the late actor's last film. Oscar nominee Ledger was just six weeks from finishing fantasy movie 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' when he died while on a break. According to a studio source, director Terry Gilliam now wants friend Johnny Depp to step into the role.

"There is a point in the film when Heath falls through a magic mirror," The Sun quoted the source, as saying.

"He could change into another character after that and that is where Johnny would come in. It's a weird, fantasy, time-travel movie so Heath's character could easily change appearance. It would be a poignant moment. Johnny's not working at the moment so everyone is praying he will do it."

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