King Rat: The Bloody Revenge of the Whales

King Rat: The Bloody Revenge of the Whales

King Rat is an animated short film directed by the late Heath Ledger and co-directed by Daniel Auber, with music provided by Modest Mouse.  The film is a visual protest against the legal commercial whale hunts taking place off the coast of Australia.  King Rat was fully conceived down to the last detail, but unfortunately Ledger never got to see the finished product before his death.  In the interest of fully realizing Heath’s final work as a visual artist, THE MASSES (a film and music company in which Heath was a partner) finished the video in his honor, with the support and advocacy of Isaac Brock.

What if, instead of humans hunting whales, it was the other way around?  What if whales sailed the open seas, hunting for swimming humans so that they could chop them up and use their parts to make ginger bread men?  Of course, this sounds incredibly far-fetched and obviously is, but it does make for a brilliant social commentary and one hell of a music video.

And we can thank the late Heath Ledger for it all.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is honored to be connected with this important work and hopes that it brings attention to the illegal slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

King Rat: The Bloody Revenge of the Whales

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Heath Ledger Wins Golden Globe for “The Dark Knight”

Heath Ledger Wins Golden Globe for “The Dark Knight”

The late Heath Ledger earned the supporting-actor Golden Globe for his role in the The Dark Knight.   The Globe win enhances Heath Ledger’s prospects for the Supporting-Actor Oscar at the Academy Awards, whose nominations come out Jan. 22, the one-year anniversary of the actor’s death.  The award was accepted by The Dark Knight Director Christopher Nolan, who said he and his collaborators were buoyed by the enormous acclaim and acceptance the film and Ledger’s performance have gained worldwide.

Heath Ledger Wins Golden Globe

Heath Ledger: The Dark Knight

Remembering Heath Ledger (1979-2008)


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In Memoriam: Images of Notable People Who Passed in 2008

In Memoriam: Images of Notable People Who Passed in 2008

Music: Mavis Staples/Hard Times

In Memoriam: Images of Notable People Who Passed in 2008

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The Dark Night’s Ghastly Joker: Heath Ledger Touted for an Oscar

The Dark Knight’s Ghastly Joker: Heath Ledger Touted for an Oscar

Handsome is as handsome doesn’t in The Dark Knight. Of the three male actors who dominate the movie, it’s Heath Ledger with his face hidden behind twisted clown makeup, whose perfect features are never seen, who has proven to be the most memorable. Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight is both a demonic creation and three-ring circus of one. Ledger died in January at the age of 28 from an accidental overdose, after the principal photography of the film had concluded. His death could have cast a paralyzing pall over the movie if his performance were not so alive. Ledger’s Joker is a creature of such ghastly life, and his performance is so visceral, creepy and insistently present that the portrayal pulls you in almost at once.

Ledger’s performance is so intense and lasting in part because, despite his insane mask, it’s a subtle and nuanced performance that is so powerful it almost erases all memories of the handsome Australian actor behind the Joker’s mask. The makeup seems to have liberated Ledger. Ledger’s body movements are flexibly agile, he’s expressive with only his eyes and his voice has oscillating surges of irony, mockery and psychopathology. Ledger’s performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight is an essay, in a way that he’s never shown before when playing straight-faced characters, in pure magnetic charisma.

While Hollywood’s Academy Awards are still more than six months away, the late Heath Ledger already is being touted for a supporting actor nomination for his terrifying performance in The Dark Knight. Ledger’s performance is so mesmerizing and daring as Batman’s clown-faced arch enemy that it’s possible he might become the first performer since Peter Finch (in the 1976 Network) to receive a posthumous Oscar.

The Dark Knight (Official Movie Trailer)

You can read more about what I’ve written earlier about Heath Ledger here and here.

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Heath Ledger Portrait Wins 2008 Archibald Prize in Australia

Heath Ledger Portrait: The 2008 Archibald Prize

On Thursday, this portrait of a brooding Heath Ledger, which was painted shortly before the Australian actor died in January, was voted the most popular painting in the 2008 Archibald Prize competition.  The Archibald Prize is Australia’s top art prize for portraiture. Ledger posed for the portrait in December at Ledger’s family home in Perth, Australia.

Ledger, who was best known for his role as a conflicted gay cowboy in the 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain, died at the age of 28 in New York on January 22, 2008.  Artist Vincent Fantauzzo, 29, had been friends with Ledger for many years.

The portrait features a bare-chested Ledger against a black background, looking straight out of the canvas with two other images of the actor at the sides whispering into his ears.  Fantauzzo refused offers to sell the painting and said that he had spoken to Ledger’s family, who requested that the portrait be donated to the New South Wales Gallery in Sydney, Australia.

Remembering Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

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When the Day is Done

Nick Drake: When the Day is Done

When the Day is Done is sung by Nick Drake.  Nick Drake (1948-1974) was an English singer who failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime.  However, interest in Drake’s work has grown steadily, to the extent that he now ranks among the most influential English singers of the last 50 years.  It has been said that Heath Ledger was obsessed with Drake’s music.

Nick Drake: When Day is Done

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And I Cried: Remembering Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger, the Australian-born actor whose surprising rendering of the fate of a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain earned him a nomination for an Academy Award and comparisons to actors like Marlon Brando, was found dead Tuesday in his Manhattan apartment.

Even if he had lived to be a person of very advanced years, Ledger would probably never have stopped hearing people tell “I wish I knew how to quit you” jokes, the line expressed by his co-star Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain. What seems to have gotten lost in the midst of considerable public anxiety is how very good the film actually was, and how superb Ledger was as Ennis Del Mar, the emotionally stifled ranch hand with a broken heart. Really, it was a tragic portrayal about not talking, about repression, about the unsaid. And that is easier said than done.

As the body of Ledger’s works progressed, one could discern that he went about the search to evoke the spirit of his characters with almost too much seriousness, with pain.

Heath Ledger: 1979-2008

Remembering Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger: 1979-2008

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