The news devastated Gilliam, and he almost shut down the set. However, his memories of the late actor prevented him from abandoning the project. The filmmaker instead went on to revise the original script, and recruited actors Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to fill in Ledger's last role.
"The closing credit says 'By Heath and Friends' because the film changed with his death. He forced me to make changes and we wouldn't have finished it if it wasn't for Heath..." Contactmusic quoted him as saying. He added: "Fortunately, I was surrounded by really good people who insisted that... we had to go out and find a way of finishing the film for Heath."
Gilliam further said that Hollywood lost an enormous talent in Ledger, who inspired the entire cast and crew on set. He added: "Heath was enjoying himself so much and he was ad-libbing a lot, which I don't normally allow... but Heath was just brilliant at it and he got everybody else going. Everybody was just energised by Heath. He was extraordinary. He was almost exhausting because he had so much energy."