UPDATE: 3/11, 10:15 p.m. -- Adrian Grenier and Josh Zeman's Kickstarter got a $50,000 Hail Mary donation from none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, essentially saving the fund drive, Deadline reports. The drive was roughly $22,000 short of its goal before the donation came in. We're hoping DiCaprio will take them up on their highest Kickstarter reward, a private whale watching experience with Grenier (valued at $7,500).
"Entourage" actor Adrian Grenier and filmmaker Josh Zeman plan to set out like Ahab this fall to find their Moby Dick: a lonely whale named 52 Hertz.
52 Hertz is acknowledged by many to be the loneliest whale in the world. He travels solo, Discovery reports, and because his song occurs at a frequency that doesn't appear to be shared by any other whales, he receives no response to his calls.
Scientists first heard the whale's song in the northern Pacific in 1992. At first, they weren't entirely sure what it was, because he sang at a frequency of 52 Hz, which is higher than other baleen whales. Their frequencies in the area typically range from 10 to 39 Hz.
52 Hertz, they decided, was an anomaly.
Nobody has ever seen 52 -- scientists have only heard his soliloquies while monitoring underwater sounds -- but it's believed he is a rare hybrid of a blue and fin whale, singing a mating song only he can understand.
Grenier and Zeman are currently raising money on Kickstarter to film a team of scientists' expedition in search of the whale. The fundraising for the project, currently called "52: The Search For The Loneliest Whale In The World," ends on Wednesday, March 11. With 68 hours to go at mid-day Monday, they've received nearly $229,000 toward the project's $300,000 goal (Zeman said the film will continue whether or not it's funded through Kickstarter).
"When I heard the story of a whale that calls out at a frequency that no other whale can understand and that has presumably called out for years and never received a response, it immediately struck me," Zeman told The Huffington Post. "It was probably because I was going through a breakup at the time, but I immediately connected with the story."
Zeman soon realized that several of his artist friends were inspired to create something around 52.
"That's when I realized that there were all these people, all across the world, who are so touched by this story ... there’s this solitary creature swimming through the oceans who can’t seem to connect with his own species, but connects so profoundly with our species -- there were all these people talking about him, and he had no idea."
In addition to 52's story, the documentary will also look at the issue of noise pollution in the ocean, the history of whale songs, and how human interference affects the behaviors of whales and other cetaceans.
While Zeman hopes they find 52, he says he's fine with the possibility that they don't.
"Expeditions are important, whether you win or lose, because they spark curiosity. That’s so important for our understanding of science. Not every answer is found on Google. Our expedition is not just a physical search for a whale, it’s an emotional search for a whale," Zeman said, adding that, "A quest to try to find one whale in the ocean is a common theme in our culture -- the irony is not lost on us."
Below, listen to 52 Hertz's unique song: