The director of a new movie inspired by the death of Heath Ledger has revealed how Michelle Williams almost starred in the lead role.

In an statement shared with Entertainment Weekly, “Blood” director Bradley Rust Gray explained, “When we were getting ready to shoot the film, she realized it was all a little too close for her still, and she politely bowed out.” 

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Actress Carla Juri was instead cast as Chloe, a woman who travels to Japan after the death of her husband. There, she reconnects with an old friend and grapples with giving herself permission to fall in love again.

Gray said that the plot of the movie was based on his friend Williams’ own experiences grieving after the death of Ledger in 2008.

The film won the Special Jury Award for Uncompromising Artistic Vision at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. 

Gray also told EW that the movie’s title came to Williams in a dream. 

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Williams and Ledger welcomed their daughter Matilda in 2005. Williams is now married to Thomas Kail, who she welcomed a child with in 2020.