For a film that grossed a mere $110,494 on its opening weekend, Donnie Darko has made quite the lasting impact with fans. Richard Kelly’s 2001 feature film debut has been making its way back into American theatres over the past few weeks for the film’s 15th anniversary. Kelly recently spoke to Consequence of Sound about Donnie Darko and what he’s been up to since we last heard from him with 2009’s The Box.
Kelly wrote the screenplay for Donnie Darko when he was 23 years old. While the film eventually gained a massive following, Kelly had signed the rights away prior to directing it. A sequel, S. Darko, followed in 2009, although Kelly had nothing to do with the project and it was widely panned by critics and fans of the original.
While Kelly has been relatively quiet since 2009, he has a lot of film projects in the works and hasn’t closed the door on the Donnie Darko universe.
“I don’t control the underlying rights to Donnie Darko,” Kelly told CoS. “I had to relinquish them when I was 24, when I signed the deal to direct the movie. I don’t control them, and I never really have since the year 1999 or 2000, but I am open to exploring something bigger and new in that universe, and I would only want to do it if there were the right people involved and if it were a worthy thing to do.
“More than anything, I just want to protect the intellectual property and hope that nothing cynical or ill-advised is done with it ever again. We’ll see what happens. There’s an open door there.”
Kelly’s first film has come a long way since its brief run in theatres. Donnie Darko was given a limited release in October of 2001, a little over a month after the 9/11 attacks. It was held back from an international release for months, with its plot centering around an airplane crashing into a residential neighbourhood perhaps playing the role of a deterrent for some in the industry. Home video and DVD/Blu-Ray sales helped transform this box office flop into a money-making cult classic.
Head over to Consequence of Sound to read the interview in entirety. Kelly opens up about the film’s soundtrack, which featured iconic sequences set to Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels,” Gary Jules’ “Mad World,” and cuts from the likes of Echo and Bunnymen, Joy Division, and Duran Duran.
It’s an interesting read on a director who isn’t afraid to take risks. Kelly, now 42, talks about potential future projects, including revisiting his ambitious 2006 film Southland Tales.