The first trailer for an upcoming SPIKE TV documentary on Heath Ledger reveals an intimate look at the actor few really knew — from the lens of his own camera, as he captured his personal journey to stardom.
I Am Heath Ledger comes a little more than nine years after the actor’s tragic death at age 28 from an accidental mixture of prescription drugs. The first trailer was released on April 4 — which would have been Ledger’s 38th birthday — and the documentary will air on May 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SPIKE TV, as well as at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23.
The documentary features interviews with those who knew Ledger best — Naomi Watts, Emile Hirsch, Ben Mendelssohn and Djimon Hounsou, as well as directors Ang Lee, Catherine Hardwicke, along with close friends, his family members and industry peers who remember the icon.
“Heath was the most alive human,” musician Ben Harper says in the trailer. “And if it wasn’t on the edge, it didn’t interest him.”
I Am Heath Ledger also features extraordinary home video the actor filmed himself that reveals his love of directing, offering new insight into a turn his career could have taken.
Ledger, who starred in 10 Things I Hate About You, The Patriot, Brokeback Mountain, and The Dark Knight, among others, was loved for his rugged good looks and low-key demeanour. He was often seen skateboarding down the streets of his Brooklyn neighbourhoods and strolling with Matilda, the young daughter he had with actress Michelle Williams.
Considered one of the most compelling actors of his generation, he brought a deep soulfulness to his roles, especially in Brokeback Mountain, opposite Williams and Jake Gyllenhaal, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. (He won posthumously in 2009 for The Dark Knight.)
Now his story will be told in Spike’s original documentary series, I Am, which offers an inside look at the lives of unique individuals as told by those in their inner circle.
The documentary also recounts Ledger’s most memorable moments onscreen, from his beginnings in Australia to the height of Hollywood celebrity.
“He wanted fame — and then when he got it, he didn’t want it,” says filmmaker Matt Amato, one of Ledger’s closest friends.
This story originally appeared on PEOPLE.