Bob Odenkirk Is the Ultimate Denier in Errol Morris' Absurdist Climate Change Ads

He plays Admiral Horatio Horntower in 19 spots

There's plenty of impassioned, emotionally wrenching advertising about the climate crisis. But now for something completely different. 

Errol Morris, the Oscar-winning documentarian and celebrated commercial director, has offered up his own take on climate change. He's created and directed a series of absurdist videos starring Bob Odenkirk (of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fame) as Admiral Horatio Horntower—an "admiral of a fleet of one and perhaps the last man on Earth," apparently based on C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower, who continues to deny climate change exists. 

Here are the first four spots: 

See more of the videos here.

To Morris, the absurdity of the setup mirrors that of the whole climate-change catastrophe. 

"I have never had any trouble believing in climate change, global warming, or whatever you want to call it," he says in a statement. "The scientific evidence is overwhelming. Galileo famously replied to Archbishop Piccolomini (or some other Vatican prelate), 'And yet it moves.' Today we could just as well say, 'And yet it changes.' But what to do about it? Logic rarely convinces anybody of anything. Climate change has become yet another vehicle for political polarization. If Al Gore said the Earth was round, there would be political opposition insisting that the Earth was flat. It's all so preposterous, so contemptible." 

He adds: "I've created nineteen 30-second spots that profile a character I created: Admiral Horatio Horntower. He's an admiral of a fleet of one and perhaps the last man on Earth. Hopefully it captures the absurdity and the desperation of our current situation. No pie graphs, no PowerPoint—just a blithering idiot played by one of my favorite actors, Bob Odenkirk." 

The videos were made in partnership with the Institute for the Future. 

"Last year, Institute for the Future and the Climate Investment Funds released its New Story to Spark the Future of Climate Action study along with an accompanying art installation to illustrate opportunity zones for climate action over the next decade that can accelerate progress toward a low-carbon world," the group says. "In this study, we stressed the important role that artists and designers can play in the future of climate action. That's why we are delighted to premiere this series of video spots, produced and directed by Errol Morris and starring Bob Odenkirk. They're the kind of creative approach we were hoping to see when we developed our climate action framework." 



Presented By: Biscuit Filmworks & Fourth Floor Productions

Biscuit Filmworks & Fourth Floor Productions
Director: Errol Morris
Starring: Bob Odenkirk
Partner/Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall
Head of Production: Mercedes Allen-Sarria and Rachel Glaub
Producer: Julie Bilson Ahlberg
Co-Producer: Dina Alexander Piscatelli
Editor/Co-Producer: Steven Hathaway
DP: Peter Deming
Production Designer: Steve Hardie
Costume Designer: Lee Ann Jarvis
Production Supervisor: Molly Gilula
Music: Paul Leonard-Morgan
Graphics: Michael Bierut / Pentagram

VFX & Online: Timber
Creative Directors/Partners: Jonah Hall & Kevin Lau
Executive Producer: Sabrina Elizondo
Head of Production: Melody Alexander
Senior Producer: Seth Gantman
Flame Artist: Miles Kinghorn
Flame Assist: Alice Cen
Nuke: Michael Loney
Production Coordinator: Brian Keegan

Thanks to:
Quixote Studios, ARRI Rentals, KG Studio Catering, Gary Matosian, Alenka Pavlin Sound, On Tap Video

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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