December 23, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

Moment of Arrival Opposite Mel Gibson in the Revolutionary War flick The Patriot.
How He Got the Part He landed the role despite an audition gone awry: ”I walked out…. I was doing a lousy job, and I was boring myself.” Director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin disagreed — and gave him a second shot.
Previous Jobs After leaving his hometown of Perth, Australia, at 16, Ledger made his acting debut as a gay character on the Australian TV show Sweat. Yanks know him from 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You.
What Fame Has Brought Comparisons to Steve McQueen. But, he says, ”If you start believing in that stuff, you start thinking you’re a ‘star.”’
What’s Next A medieval swashbuckler, tentatively titled A Knight’s Tale, and The Four Feathers.
What’s With All the Period Pieces? Coincidence — and irresistible scripts: ”Believe me, I would love to just put on a pair of jeans.”

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