Heath Ledger deliberately took roles he knew would ruin his screen career, as he wanted the chance to rise from the ashes in an even more impressive form.

The Antipodean actor, 26, shocked critics by getting his teeth into parts other actors shied away from, including a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, but already Ledger, who is now starring in The Brothers Grimm, is convinced his plan has paid dividends.

He explains, "I sort of took my career and destroyed it. I had to destroy my career because I just didn't like it. I didn't like the movies I was making.

"People weren't giving me a chance to do anything other than be the blond-haired bimbo, and it was starting to bore me.

"I couldn't have spent the rest of my life following the paths that were being presented to me, so I had to start creating some for myself.

"It's taken a while, but it looks like doors are opening again."