How Heath Ledger helped ‘direct’ his documentary

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Co-director says there's something for fans and non

Ledger's family responded positively to the documentary

CNN  — 

There’s a reason why we are just now seeing a documentary on Heath Ledger.

The actor, who died in 2008 at the age of 28 from an accidental overdose, proved an irresistible subject according to Derik Murray, who along with Adrian Buitenhuis co-directed “I Am Heath Ledger.”

“We were always wanting to make the film, but we thought, ‘What do we know beyond him being this uber-talent?’” Murray told CNN in a recent interview. “It wasn’t really until about a year and a bit ago that we started to put together some of the pieces that were beyond Heath Ledger on the screen.”

The result is an intimate look at the “Brokeback Mountain” star’s life, buoyed by the Ledger’s personal footage and interviews with close friends and family.

Related: ‘I Am Heath Ledger’ provides intimate, gauzy portrait

Ledger, who got into directing before his death, was rarely without a camera in hand. Being entrusted with some of the late actor’s material meant a great deal to the filmmakers, Murray explained.

“We felt like Heath was a co-director of this movie,” he said. “We felt that this content he had filmed and this journey that was he was taking on was in a way directing and leading us on in this movie.”

Murray met with director Matt Amato, who had partnered with Ledger in a production company called The Masses, prior to the documentary’s production.

It was Amato who was instrumental in getting the cooperation of Ledger’s family and actress Michelle Williams, who is the mother of Ledger’s daughter, Matilda, Murray said.

When the film debuted recently at the Tribeca Film Festival, Murray discovered a range of people who hold an “avid fascination” with Ledger.

“For Heath Ledger fans, I think they are going to love it because they are going to find out so much about him, who he really was, and their affection for Heath will grow,” Murray said. “For those who weren’t major fans, I think they will find this film inspiring. You will learn that creativity is for all of us, you just need to pick up a camera, pick up a pen, put your finger on your computer, draw, paint or whatever it is.”

For Murray, the most meaningful response to the film came from Ledger’s family, who told him, “You captured our boy.”

“I Am Heath Ledger” will air Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Spike.