Heath Ledger‘s sisters came together Sunday to remember the late actor nine years after his death at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of the documentary I Am Heath Ledger, which provides an insightful look at his life as movie star and father as well as his troubled final days.
Ledger’s older sister Kate Ledger and half-sister Ashleigh Bell posed for photos together on the red carpet with the film’s director, Derik Murray.
His sister Kate previously told WHO that in some ways the “beautiful” film is Ledger’s final gift to his now 11-year-old daughter, Matilda.
“You can tell her about things, but with her being able to visually see his movement and his expressions, it’s almost like he had actually filmed the documentary himself and pieced it together for her,” she said.
Michelle Williams has parented the former couple’s child on her own for nine years since Ledger’s death from an accidental overdose inside a Manhattan apartment on Jan. 22, 2008. He was 28.
“The way she’s been an incredible mother, she has hero status all across the board,” Ledger’s close friend Matt Amato, with whom he co-founded the music and film company The Masses, previously told WHO.
Kate also praised Michelle as “really grounded and down to earth,” and says the similarities between her niece and her late brother are striking.
“When [Matilda] picks up her pencil, it reminds me of Heath; when she walks, it reminds me of Heath; when she gets on her skateboard, it reminds me of Heath,” she said. “I tell her about her daddy every time we see each other. I tell her little stories of him growing up and how he used to chase me with the cricket bat.”
The documentary also includes footage filmed by Ledger himself, including himself on the set of 2000’s The Patriot.
The Revolutionary War epic, costarring Mel Gibson, would become a breakout film for the actor, who was just coming off his first turn as a teenage heartthrob in 10 Things I Hate About You.
“So this is [my] first day shooting; this is first on The Patriot for me,” Ledger tells the camera. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s been three months since I found out I got this job, and finally, after three months of sitting around thinking about it, I get to go do it. This is it. So blink my eyes and I’ll be out there.”
After Ledger gives an exaggerated blink to the camera, the footage cuts to some on-set action from the film, showing Ledger hiding behind a tree before taking aim at a group of British soldiers.
Longtime agent and friend Steve Alexander said Ledger loved “disappearing” into a role, but adds that the star felt less at ease in the Hollywood glare, which is evident in the documentary.
“There is this great footage that he seems to have taken himself [that shows his] playful, artistic side,” says Alexander. “But when you see him in the red carpet events, he doesn’t look as comfortable.”
I Am Heath Ledger will be released in select Australian cinemas on May 11.