Modest Mouse’s Heath Ledger-Directed Video: The Facts

by Cara Alwill

There have been a lot of confusing reports recently about the video the late Heath Ledger directed for Modest Mouse, so we reached out to the band’s rep to get the facts.

The clip is for the song “King Rat”, which was an outtake from the band’s 2007 album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock met Ledger in Australia, and the idea for the video came from that meeting. In a 2007 interview with VH1, Brock recalled, “Heath Ledger’s been wanting to do a video for one of the songs that didn’t make it on the record, ’King Rat.’ Terry Gilliam is going to help animate it. Heath and I have a mutual friend and when we were in Australia, my fiancé and some of us in the band went out on a boat with him and his family and friends and talked about the idea. He’s got a video production company and was interested in working on something. We were talking back and forth for a while. The idea seemed sort of dropped, but then he just sent me an e-mail saying that he wanted to do it. And I love me some Terry Gilliam. I hope it works out and I don’t sound like a f—ing liar at the end of this.”

Well, he was half right. The video was animated by Norris Houk III, with Jade Taglioli as the second animator, and illustrated by Daniel Auber, who is a concept designer and frequent collaborator of Terry Gilliam — Modest Mouse’s rep stressed that Gilliam did not animate the video. While there is no specific date for the release of the clip, fans can expect to catch a first glimpse of it by this summer.