Donnie Darko turns 20: Ten things you didn’t know

By Ryan Keating-Lambert

It’s been 20 years! ‘Donnie Darko’, everyone’s favourite f*cked-up time traveller and his furry pal ‘Frank’ recently celebrated the film’s massive 20th anniversary. Let’s have a look at some of the things you may not know about this now cult classic film, which more or less launched the career of Jake Gyllenhaal and launched an obsessive following.

1. Despite the film’s success today, Donnie Darko was at one point on the rocks. Luckily, Drew Barrymore’s production company ‘Flower Productions’ put around 4.5 million into the film. Without this, it would’ve been a lower budget straight to DVD film or television series. Barrymore also stars in the film as English teacher Margaret Pomeroy.

2. Big time Inception/Tenet director Christopher Nolan helped market the film by convincing Newmarket films to buy it.

3. The original ‘Arabic style’ font on the poster had to be changed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks although is still present in the opening credits.

donnie-darko-1
Photo: Blogspot

4. At the film’s wrap party, both Jake Gyllenhaal and Seth Rogan confessed that they had no idea what the movie was about. This was also Seth Rogan’s big screen debut.

5. Jake Gyllenhaal tried not to blink much during the film because he thought it’d make Donnie look more psychotic.

6. Some other actors were interested in taking the part of Donnie, including Vince Vaughn and also Jason Schwartzman. Mark Wahlberg was very interested in the role but only wanted to do it if he could give Donnie a lisp.

7. Kelly was inspired by Maggie Gyllenhaal after seeing her in Cecil B. DeMented, a film in which Gyllenhaal’s character drinks urine. Kelly cast her as Donnie’s sister because he wanted to see their real life sibling rivalry cross over into film.

8. The film is set in the 1980s and despite everyone else being in costume, Patrick Swayze (Jim Cunningham) took stuff from his own ’80s wardrobe.

9. Actress Mary McDonnell (Rose Darko) was actually given a speeding ticket on the first day of shooting because she was so excited to start the project that she sped the whole way to set.

10. A ‘Director’s Cut’ version of the film was released in 2004 with an additional 20 minutes of footage as well as superimposed pages from the fictional book ‘The Philosophy of Time Travel’ which Donnie reads in the movie. Some say this text explains some of the more confusing scenes in the film.

Feature photo: Den of Geek

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