heath ledger + modest mouse + the masses: king rat.

First off, I’m not sure life would be worth living without Stereogum. I just had to get that off my chest.

Second off, it’s weird when someone’s work gets released posthumously. I can’t help but think that a) the person knew they were going to die, and so b) have filled whatever it is with hidden messages from the other side. I know this probably isn’t true, but I can’t stop looking for messages in a bottle from the dead.


Heath Ledger approached Modest Mouse with a directorial idea for a video for “King Rat” in January 2007. After his death in 2008, the video was completed by film collective The Masses. This is what they say on their website:

“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 off 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.   We completed the video in his honor… The King Rat video was directed by Heath Ledger, co-directed and illustrated by Daniel Auber with lead animation by Norris Houk, animation by Jade Taglioli and produced by Sara Cline of THE MASSES.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Via (the daily must-read) Stereogum

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