Posted on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
Earlier this year, The Playlist uncovered the news that Heath Ledger had been working on two music videos at the time of his death, one for Modest Mouse and one for Grace Woodroofe. Now Ledger’s animated Modest Mouse video, for the new song ‘King Rat’, is streaming at MySpace. When the news first came out, Terry Gilliam was reported to be the animator, which turned out to be false. But you can see some very evident Gilliam influence in the clip regardless — those trumpets emerging from clouds are just one little touch of Gilliam’s very recognizable style. See the (relatively horrifying) video after the jump.
The idea behind the clip is to rail against illegal whale hunting, and the images of whale sailors capturing and skinning humans certainly gets that across. And while Ledger died before the video was completed, a press release on MySpace insists that he had fully designed the piece “down to the last detail” before his death, and the final animation was carried out by the company THE MASSES, in which Ledger had a stake.
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In January of 2007, while visiting his homeland of Australia, Heath Ledger presented Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse with an idea to direct a video for their yet-to-be-released song ‘King Rat’. Heath’s vision, brave and unapologetic in its nature, would marry his love of bold and original music with his impassioned stance against the illegal commercial whale hunts taking place of the coast of Australia each year. Always one to operate from his heart and take a stand for what he cared deeply about, Heath’s intention was to raise awareness on modern whaling practices through a potent visual piece without having to say a word. It was his way to let the story, in its candid reversal, speak for itself.
The video was fully conceived down to the last detail but unfinished when Heath passed away in January of 2008. In the interest of fully realizing Heath’s final work as a visual artist, THE MASSES (a film and music company which Heath was a partner in) finished the video in his honor, with the support and advocacy of Isaac Brock.