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 (14Jul08).
Stars including Ethan Hawke, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal and her brother Jake - who appeared with Ledger in 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain - walked the red carpet to see the tragic actor's turn in the film.
And his co-stars were keen to honour 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 Michael 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 22 January (08). He was 28 years old.
The Dark Knight hits movie theatres in the U.S. on 18 July (08).