I proudly admit Im a Donnie Darko fan and I hate having my viewing experience ruined by reviews or articles that give too much away. So with the release of the Directors Cut just a few days off, I didnt even try to pry any spoilers out of Kelly during my one-on-one interview. If its specifics you want on whats been added to the Directors Cut, then sorry. While Kelly spoke at length about this new version and what drove him to complete a Director's Cut at this time, this in-depth interview is pretty much spoiler-free.
Our interview was delayed by a few hours because of an important pre-production meeting for Richard Kellys second film, Southland Tales, so its only fitting we began by talking about that upcoming movie:
So youve been busy getting prepared to begin filming Southland Tales?
Yes, yes - the pre-production drama and excitement and anxiety (laughing). Its like a movie coming together is like a house of cards and you hope that the wind doesnt blow in the wrong direction. Once you have your start date, the further you get into pre-production, the more money thats spent, the more cement blocks you have in the foundation of your house. The wind isnt as dangerous. To make an architectural metaphor out of the whole thing (laughing).
Do you have a definite start date?
Well, the start date is shifting a tiny bit. Its absolutely still planned for the summer, were just still trying to lock in a few pivotal [parts]. There are still a lot of roles that are yet to be cast and theres a couple pivotal, starring roles that havent been cast that are sort of determining what the final budget is.
The magic of the formula of independent film financing is very much determined by actors and their overseas numbers and this and that. It can be a little frustrating because you have an attorney somewhere telling you what your film is worth in the marketplace, yet they havent read the script, they dont know anything about the project other than who is in it and the genre. And they think they can tell you what your film is worth in the marketplace based on those elements. And yet, what about the quality of the direction and the quality of the screenplay? What about those little things? And, unfortunately, it can be a little frustrating. Thats just the process of putting together an independent film, trying to get the budget to a place where we can do what we want and need to do.
Can you confirm the cast? Is it Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Kevin Smith and Jason Lee so far?
Yeah, and Amy Poehler and Tim Blake Nelson. And were still trying to get Janeane [Garofalo] locked in but shes got her commitment to Air America Radio, which is definitely a priority. Were trying to see if we can balance both for her. Theres going to be a lot more actors joining the cast soon. Thats probably only about half of the total cast, really.
Is it a bit crazy to be directing Kevin Smith in your second movie?
He and I have become really close friends. Kevin always jokes that he cant act but if youve ever seen him, even outside of his films in his sort of stand-up not stand-up comedy, its more him being a storyteller like on the Evening with Kevin Smith DVD he really has a real charisma and an ability to tell a story. If you look at someone who can have a presence like that on stage, to me thats acting.
Im working with a lot of comedians in this film and Im hoping to take a lot of the performers Im working with and show audiences a new dimension, a new side to their personality, and hopefully present a different variation of someones persona on screen.