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Heath tempts Berlin with bittersweet 'Candy'

February 15, 2006
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Even before the buzz surrounding his role in Brokeback Mountain has died down, Australian actor Heath Ledger is already dazzling the movie industry with another stunning performance. The 26-year-old, whose appearance in the Ang Lee romance won him an Academy Award nomination, is now being hailed by critics at the Berlin Film Festival for his turn in the drama Candy.

At first glance Heath's character in the movie, a down-and-out Sydney heroin addict, seems a world away from the gruff cowboy he played in his last big screen outing. Both productions see him taking on the challenge of representing emotionally complex men struggling to come to terms with themselves, however.

And although industry insiders are saying the new flick confirms his status as one of the most talented screen performers around today, the rising star says he was just happy to do some work in his home country. "It was incredibly liberating in the sense that it was the first film I've done using my own accent in about eight years," he confessed.

When asked about his hopes for Oscar night on March 5, the actor admitted to feeling a little bemused by all the attention. "It's such a surreal concept to be competing and thrust into a competition whether you are acting or directing," he explained. "Everyone's playing different sports and you all start from different lines and are finishing at a different spot."

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Photo: ©
The Australian actor arrives for the screening of his new film with relatively unknown costar Abbie Cornish. In the flick they play a pair of junkies struggling to overcome their addictionPhoto: AFP
Photo: ©
Critics are hailing Heath's performance in Candy, but the actor says he was just happy to make a film in which he could stick to his native accent. "It was incredibly liberating," he explainedPhoto: AFP

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