Lily Cole has claimed that she owes her successful acting career to the late Heath Ledger.
The model, who met Ledger during filming of The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus, said that he became her mentor and a great friend.
Cole told The Times: “He definitely helped me. From the beginning, he understood that I would be overwhelmed and scared by the size of the project. He encouraged me and said he was really proud of me, constantly fed me support.”
Ledger died mid-way through filming of the movie and his role was taken on by Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp.
Cole added: “Everyone loved Heath. For everyone who knew him, [his death] was devastating. The practicalities of continuing the production were difficult, but it seemed irrelevant. Johnny slipped seamlessly into the role, but that didn’t stop it being bizarre.”
The movie is due to be released in October.