Ledger Checked Into Rehab For Junkie Training
HEATH LEDGER checked himself into an Australian rehab facility and learned how to shoot up heroin from a junkie - to perfect his latest movie role. The Aussie actor plays a drug addict in new movie CANDY, but he had no idea how to portray his sick character on the big screen, because he has never stuck a needle in his arm. So he called on experts at the Narcotics Users Association of Australia, who hooked him up with a junkie and a fake arm. The BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN star explains, "I went to this centre in Australia, called NUAA and met a gentleman who has been using, and still is, for the last 20 years. "He took us into a board room and opened what looked like a rifle case and inside was a prosthetic arm, which was designed for training purposes; it was designed to train young drug addicts how to find their veins. "It was a fully functional arm, the veins were fully functional. It would attach to the shoulder with two tubes that you could attach to blood bags and it would pump blood through the arm and you could find a vein and, when you found the vein, he showed us the angles in which to go in at (with a needle). "You could draw back even and take blood out of the arm and then push through. He taught us how to tie the tourniquets to pump up the vein. We also had someone on set who could take us step by step through the stages of drying out. "They would say, 'OK, now you're in a cold sweat, in this next scene your stomach feels like it's twisting up into a knot, your head aches, you're parched.'" Ledger, who also stayed out of the sun and fasted to perfect the role of a pale, starving junkie, admits he had no longing to try hard drugs before making Candy, and now he'll never go near them. He adds, "I do think that drugs and alcohol have been obviously glorified and mythologised. We've kind of connected that with what it takes to create something, which is anything from the truth. Creation comes from your mind and it's hard to create when you're phased and drugged out. "I'm sure drugs and alcohol would inspire new thoughts but it's certainly not something that I use as a tool or a mechanism to create."