Donnie Darko Director's Cut
Exclusive Interview With Richard Kelly
Source: Empire Online
Fans rejoice, because cult hit Donnie Darko will be returning to cinemas this year as an extended Director's Cut. Containing all-new footage, a re-mixed audio track and brand new visual effects, the new edit is being heralded as an all-new theatrical experience and we spoke to writer/director Richard Kelly to get the full story.
Whose idea was it to re-cut the film for a second release?
Well, I was in New York doing a Q&A at one of the midnight screenings last summer and Bob Berney from Newmarket was there. He came up to me afterwards and said 'Richard, we might want to think about re-releasing it.' I said 'well, if we're going to do it, why not let me do a new version of it and give people a real reason to come back to the theatre and see it again.'
They knew how much additional footage there was and they gave me the autonomy to finish the film how I'd always intended to finish it. This in no way negates the first theatrical cut though, I'm not dismissing it in any way; it's just a way for me to expand my vision for the film and give a more thorough version of it. It's letting me complete the sequences we didn't have the money to complete and put in additional plot music that we'd always wanted to put into the film but couldn't afford.
My original vision was always a kind of epic science fiction tale but it had to be condensed to come in under two hours. Ultimately I found it impossible to fully communicate the story in under two hours but now I don't have a restriction on running time, hopefully audiences will be able to re-experience the film in a completely new way. With the new visual effects and new sound design I think it's something the fans will want to see on the big screen.
Some of the new material was on the DVD release but you're adding footage that you originally held back. Did you always have a Director's Cut in mind?
When I made the DVD the first time around I knew that it was going to be a compromised DVD at best - in terms of the packaging. On the first Region 1 DVD I did finagle my way in with the programmers though and we worked with means well beyond our budget 'cause they were fans of the film. But in the back of my mind I did think that maybe one day I'd get to do a director's cut so I saved some stuff that would be a real surprise for people. In hindsight I'm glad that I did as this material is stuff that even people who've seen the DVD thirty times will still be surprised by.
Can you give us any specifics on the new material?
I kind of want to leave it as a surprise but I will say that this it will be worth the price of admission - it's not trying to cash-in on the fan-base, it's a wholly new theatrical experience. It will expand the meaning of the film and offer more clues and more solutions to the puzzle and create an additional layer of mystery for the audience. There really is a tremendous amount of new material - some of which will surprise even the most die-hard fans. One thing I am really excited about is the new sound. I was really unhappy with the mix that we had in the first cut. We never really had time to go in properly and design the sound. We can go back and really get it right this time. I'm very excited about the new sonic elements of the film.
How about the soundtrack, will we see some more classic eighties numbers?
There are gonna be some pop music surprises but I don't want to spoil anything. It's all good though - I'm not a fool, I haven't gone in there and botched the things that people love. Donnie does not shoot first - I'm not pulling a Greedo.
Will we get to see a UK release of the Director's cut?
Absolutely. Metrodome was really wonderful and helped contribute to some of our music budget. They were very aggressive about wanting to get the film back in UK cinemas. As to when, I think that's up to Metrodome but I would anticipate before the end of the year. They did well in the Fall of 2002 so that's pretty likely.