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An infamous 1970s TV interview may have inspired Heath Ledger's Joker - now it's the basis for a hit new horror movie

 David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy in Late Night with the Devil.
David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy in Late Night with the Devil.

Late Night with the Devil star David Dastmalchian says the film's demonic talk show has something in common with Heath Ledger's Joker.

"The Cairnes brothers sent me a bunch of footage that they accumulated of Don Lane. He was the Johnny Carson of Australian television. He did this famous interview with Tom Waits, and a lot of people think Heath Ledger took inspiration from it for his portrayal of The Joker," Dastmalchian told The Hollywood Reporter. "[The likelihood of shared inspiration] is pretty cool, and it’s also the cyclical nature of being a storyteller and the strange path that it’s followed."

The interview in question was broadcast on late night Australian TV in 1979, and involves a very calm Don Lane and a rather chaotic 29-year-old Tom Waits. A seemingly inebriated Waits sits down next to Lane, and when you fast forward to the 1:45 timestamp – your jaw will drop. Waits' voice is near-identical to the one Ledger used for The Dark Knight's Joker, and the mannerisms are similar as well. Oddly enough, Dastmalchian had a small part in The Dark Knight as Thomas Schiff, a cop who is revealed to be a henchman for the Joker.

The found footage horror, written and directed by Cameron and Colin Cairnes, stars Dastmalchian as the host of a 1970s talk show who invites an allegedly possessed young girl onto the show for a special Halloween broadcast with the hopes of boosting his ratings. The film made (and we're not kidding) $666,666 at the box office in its opening weekend.

Late Night with the Devil is in theaters now. For more, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies in 2024 and beyond.