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Heath Ledger's Co-Stars Pay Tribute at 'Dark Knight' Premiere

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Jul 15, 2008 | 3:11am EDT

Christian Bale and Michael Caine paid tribute to their late co-star Heath Ledger at the Dark Knight world premiere in New York on Monday.

Stars including Ethan Hawke, Gary OldmanMaggie Gyllenhaal and her brother Jake--who appeared with Ledger on 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain--walked the red carpet to see the tragic actor's turn in the film.

And his co-stars were quick to honor his performance as the Joker.

Bale, who plays the Caped Crusader in the sequel, says, "Working with Heath was fantastic. He steals the movie and I'm quite happy to say that.

"He's a hell of a talent and created a Joker that's very iconic and one that will become a classic portrayal of the ages."

And Caine, who plays the hero's butler, was full of praise for the "intensity and ferocity of the performance" given by Ledger.

He adds, "When we were sitting down between takes, he was completely ordinary. He wasn't preparing himself or saying, 'Please leave me alone, I've gotta do this.' Instead he was talking to me.

"We would sit and chat and have a cup of coffee, then suddenly they'd say, 'We're ready, Heath,' and he'd go straight into the Joker. His energy was astonishing, especially when it came from this kind of calm. He's certainly the best villain I've ever seen."

Ledger was found dead from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs at his New York apartment on Jan. 22. He was 28 years old.

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