The Heath Ledger/Nick Drake Connection
Actor claims obsession with Drake, simulates suicide on 2007 video to Drake's music
The already startling death of actor Heath Ledger has taken on another startling dimension following the revelation that Ledger courted a self-proclaimed obsession with another tragic figure, late English folk singer Nick Drake. This obsession even manifested itself in a piece of Drake-inspired performance art that may have foreshadowed Ledger's demise.
"I was obsessed with an artist by the name of Nick Drake," Ledger explained at a September 2007 Venice Film Festival press conference [via MTV.com]. Ledger was promoting I'm Not There at the time, in which he plays Bob Dylan, along with several other actors and actresses.
"I was obsessed with [Drake's] story and his music and I pursued it for a while and [I] still have hopes to kind of tell his story one day. But it kind of died away, faded away, because I...He was a very mysterious figure and I felt like I would be taking too many liberties."
The body of 28-year-old Ledger was found yesterday (January 22) in a Manhattan apartment. Since sleeping pills were found nearby, Ledger's death was widely reported as being most likely drug-related. However, according to the Associated Press, an autopsy performed today proved inconclusive.
Drake, meanwhile, died in 1974 at the age of 26 from an apparent overdose of the antidepressant amitriptyline.
In line with Ledger's so-called obsession with Drake is a black-and-white video clip created by Ledger and shown at a pair of exhibits devoted to Drake last year, according to MTV.com and Billboard.com reports.
As the MTV.com report explains, "A representative for Drake's estate described the 'gorgeous' and 'extremely moving' clip as a stark black-and-white composition, consisting mainly of the director turning the camera on himself. In the end, Ledger is seen drowning himself in a bathtub."
The song playing during this is Drake's "Black Eyed Dog", purportedly the last song the English singer ever wrote and allegedly a reference to Winston Churchill's description of depression.
While these alarming parallels have no doubt sparked rampant speculation, the estate of Nick Drake, which owns the Ledger video, has not yet decided whether to release it.