The text at the end of this video reads: "This began with our friend, a great defender of life, and was completed in his spirit." And though the video for Modest Mouse's "King Rat" seems cutesy at first, it soon becomes clear why the words "defender of life" are included in this note about the video's director, the late Heath Ledger.
The animated video starts out seemingly sweet and innocent, with whales enjoying themselves on a boat, the colors all slate-gray and blue, with a happy little sun and trumpets blaring from the clouds. But, oh my, does it become gruesome. In a violent turning of tables, the whales hunt the humans and skin them, make them into food and profit nicely from it.
Apparently, in early 2007, Ledger told Modest Mouse of his idea for a music video that 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." Proceeds from iTunes video downloads will go to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for one month.
To check out the intriguing and disconcerting video for "King Rat," read more
As director Terry Gilliam says in this teaser video, his fantastical movie The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is "full of magic and wonder, the stuff of dreams." Now having caught a few clips from the movie at Comic-Con (and you can check them out after the jump), I think that's even putting it mildly. This is a lush, dark, whimsical and chilling film that I think we'll feel more than just watch.
Most people know this movie as "Heath Ledger's Last Appearance," and after his death, three high-profile actors (Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell) stepped in to complete his role. As for the actual plot, it follows an immortal doctor (played by Christopher Plummer) with a traveling theatrical group and a magical mirror who must give up his daughter (Lily Cole) to the devil (Tom Waits) on her sixteenth birthday. Ledger/Depp/Law/Farrell play a masked supporting character named Tony (after Tony Blair).
In San Diego, Gilliam explained some more about the movie and Ledger's involvement:
I don't think it's ever happened before that a main actor dies, and three A-list actors come in and take over his part. It tells you how much they cared about him. It was unbelievably brave and foolish. There was no time to prepare. We had Johnny for one day, three and a half hours. He just came in and did it. I'd shown them some clips of some of the stuff that Heath had done. I didn't know that it was going to work, but it did.
There's so much luck involved with this movie. . . . Each one of the choices that were forced upon us improved the film. I've been saying Heath co-directed it — he forced me to do all these things differently, to make a better film than I was making.
The movie opens in the UK Oct. 16. The clips are cool to watch, so to check them out, read more
The August cover of Vanity Fair features an old photo of Heath Ledger with more quotes and information about the final days of his life. Heath's friends and colleagues reveal more about his medical and psychological states at the time of his death, while also suggesting that his breakup with Michelle Williams and their custody battle may have played a big role. The article is accompanied by a portfolio of photos of the actor. It's interesting timing to give Heath the cover story, but what do you think of bringing all this new information to light — interesting or inappropriate?
- Ellen DeGeneres has signed on to play Mother Nature in an untitled comedy written by Sex and the City writer-executive producer Jenny Bicks. — The Hollywood Reporter
- The Weinstein Co. has acquired the rights for Nowhere Boy, the story of John Lennon's tumultuous childhood. — Billboard
- The Simpsons celebrated St. Patrick's Day by premiering an Irish-themed episode in Ireland and the UK on Tuesday; it airs in the US on Sunday. — TV Guide
- Two music videos which represent actor Heath Ledger's last directorial work before his death in January 2008 will be released this year. — Billboard
- Paramount has bought film rights to an upcoming Wired article about a band of Italian diamond thieves and J.J. Abrams is producing through his Bad Robot production company. — ComingSoon
- Kelly Clarkson's All I Ever Wanted tops this week's Billboard charts. — New York Times
- Maybe that will make Kelly more valuable when American Idol launches its line of trading cards in April. — AP
- Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke is in talks to direct a film adaptation of another young-adult fantasy series, Maximum Ride. — The Hollywood Reporter
- Kanye West will voice a character in Fox's Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show. — TV.com
There was a bittersweet moment in the press room just now as Heath Ledger's mother, father, and sister spoke about his work, his win, and his life — including his little girl Matilda. Here are some other bits and pieces from the brief Q&A:
Heath's sister, Kate: "When he came home from Christmas a year ago, he'd been sending me shots and bits and pieces from [The Dark Knight] . . . I said, 'This is it for you, you're going to get a nomination.' And he just looked at me and smiled. So, he knew."
Kate, on what will happen with the Oscar statuette: "Well, obviously it belongs to Matilda, so whatever has to happen in the meantime, we don't know, we haven't discussed it . . . Obviously, it'll end up with Matilda."
Heath's mother, on hearing Heath's name announced: "We were overwhelmed because nothing is a sure thing . . . We were really relieved and excited and really overwhelmed and it was fantastic, we're very excited."
Heath's mother on what Heath might have thought of all this: "I think he would have been quietly pleased because he was . . . very proud of what he did. I think he would have been very quietly pleased that it's getting recognized by his peers in the industry."
Heath's father, on raising an Oscar-winner: "Kate was the actor originally, but I guess Heath was ever the clown . . . The one thing that stuck out in our minds is that he was extremely talented in a lot of areas . . . it always worried me as a parent — 'Heath you have to find something you're good at and stick to it.'"
Heath's mother, on his final performance in director Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: "We've seen a little bit of footage. He only completed about a third of the film, and then we've had some incredible actors . . . step in to complete it. I think it's going to be amazing. Terry's amazing and Heath always had such interest and enthusiasm in what Terry was doing."
It's hard to believe a whole year has elapsed since the tragic and untimely death of Heath Ledger. It's only fitting on the one year anniversary of his death, Heath has been honored posthumously with his second Oscar nomination, this time for his chilling performance in The Dark Knight. The talented actor and loving father continues to be missed dearly by his family, friends, fans and Hollywood community. Take a look back at the years as Heath claimed fame, fell in love and became an award-worthy actor.
It's hard to believe almost a year has gone by since Heath Ledger's tragic passing, but next Thursday will be the one-year anniversary of his death. He's already been honored with a few posthumous awards, including a Golden Globe, and with Oscar nominations less than a week away, the buzz around Heath's performance in The Dark Knight is as loud as ever. To continue honoring and celebrating his memory, Entertainment Weekly made Heath its cover story with quotes and highlights about his life from the people that worked closely with the actor and grew to know and love him over the years. Here are a few highlights from the touching article:
- Gil Junger, director, 10 Things I Hate About You: "Heath came in to read, and he exuded a sexuality so uncommon for a man of that age. As soon as he left, I stood up and said, 'Ladies, I have never wanted to sleep with a man, but if I had to, that would be the man. Please hire him immediately.'"
- Todd Black, producer, A Knight's Tale: "Heath was the pied piper. If you were sad, he took care of you. If you were happy, he made you happier just by dancing or talking or laughing. Fear didn't enter his psyche. He would say whatever was on his mind. If he didn't like you, you would know it, and if he liked you, you would know it."
- Wes Bentley, friend and costar, The Four Feathers: "Heath's fun clouded its way through a room. It was infectious. If you were stuck in an elevator with him, you'd be entertained. He liked to go to Vegas dressed snazzy. He'd walk the streets of Vegas and never really have a plan, dressed up in a pink blazer and a tie. He liked to get a boat and travel to the Greek islands. Some people think he'd party too much and take drugs. That wasn't the case. It was young energy. He was high off life."
- Terry Gilliam, director, The Brothers Grimm: "All of us who were close to Heath knew what was going on, and it was not the most pleasant experience. . . . He was obsessed with his daughter. She became the center of his thoughts. He would drag her up to my house in London. Here's Heath, Academy Award nominee, and he'd just grab his daughter, stick her in a backpack, hop on the Tube, and come up to the house. Nobody would have thought, There's Heath Ledger. He was just a guy with a kid."
To read a lot more quotes from costars and friends about Heath's life and tragic death, just read more
- Kelly Rutherford filed emergency papers against her estranged husband, stating she's worried he will leave the country with their son Hermes and disappear. He countered with claims she has a physically abusive temper and has thrown a laptop at him. — E! Online
- Howie Mandel was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat yesterday while filming in Canada. It was not a heart attack, and he should be released soon. — AP
- Mariska Hargitay is suffering from a collapsed lung. She is still expected to appear on the rest of her Law and Order: SVU episodes, although she missed the Golden Globes on Sunday. — Access Hollywood
- John Travolta and Kelly Preston released a letter to their fellow residents of Ocala, thanking them for all of their condolences and help as they grieve for the death of their son, Jett. — Ocala Star-Banner
- A judge granted Jennifer Love Hewitt's request for a restraining order against a man accused of stalking her. The man is not allowed to go near Jennifer, her ex-fiance, her mom, or Universal Studios for three years. — TMZ
- Heath Ledger's Golden Globe award will be given in his memory to his daughter Matilda when she is older. — People
You most likely saw this coming, but it's nice to see it happen for real. Heath Ledger posthumously won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Joker in The Dark Knight. His fellow nominees in this category included Tom Cruise, Robert Downey, Jr., Ralph Fiennes and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
What do you think of this win?
Let me know which wins you loved and which you loathed by voting in all of my polls!