New Modest Mouse Video – “King Rat” (Directed By Heath Ledger)

There’s been much talk and speculation regarding the Heath Ledger-directed video for No One’s First, And You’re Next’s “King Rat.” The EP’s out today, and so is Ledger’s clip. As the seemingly playful fish-on-fish animation opens, those hoping (knowingly or not) for something dark to feed into the Ledger legend will be disappointed: A scatting sun, horns from heaven, flying fish, a vessel piloted by an old-timer whale, etc. When the boatload of whales catch up with their actual prey, though, the water turns red and things grow sinister. Some background:

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.

It was unfinished when Ledger died in January 2008, so The Masses, “a film and music company which Heath was a partner in,” completed the video in his stead. Take a look, seal food.

The animation’s by Norris Houk and Jade Taglioli. Daniel Auber gets a co-directorial credit. For one month, proceeds from iTunes video downloads will go to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, “an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization organization committed to ending the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.”

No One’s First And You’re Next is out today (8/4) via Epic.