who enters leading-man territory this Friday with the opening of A Knight's Tale
says he's not surprised that Hollywood's A-list is being overthrown by Down Underlings. "[It's a] secret invasion," he jokes to TV Guide Online, referring to fellow Aussies Mel Gibson
, Russell Crowe
and Hugh Jackman
. "We sent some spies over 10 years ago and they set it all up for us."
But seriously, Ledger, whose career got a major boost with last summer's Gibson-starring epic The Patriot, insists that it was never his decision to become a major celeb. "I've always been an actor I'm being created into a star," says the 22-year-old thesp. "That's the studio's decision."
Another mandate from Columbia suits: Ledger was not allowed to engage in combat for his role as a medieval jouster in A Knight's Tale. "I didn't get hit," he admits. "They wouldn't let me ride a bicycle insurance-wise let alone get hit by a guy charging at me in armor."
Tale still claimed its share of casualties only the mishaps occurred after filming wrapped. While demonstrating a combat move during post-production, Ledger accidentally knocked out director Brian Helgeland's front tooth. And if that wasn't enough, "My knee was busted because I slipped like an idiot in the editing lounge," marvels Ledger. "I was sliding on the floor and went up in the air and landed on my knee. I could barely walk."
These days, the 10 Things I Hate About You star is keeping himself grounded, despite his newfound fame. What's his secret? "You don't believe anything you read good or bad," he offers. "Especially good."