You didnt negotiate a new deal for the Directors Cut?
No, no, no. That aint going to happen (laughing). Nobody really makes any money on their first film. I get paid down the road and Im happy for that. But I think its kind of a no-brainer for them to do the Directors Cut. After the premiere in Seattle, they are going to open it up the following Wednesday for a long five day weekend in about six-eight theaters. I think that whatever the per-screen average is will determine how wide they go in July. It could be that they just do it in LA and NY in July. I think they want to be conservative. I think a lot of the fans of the original film will show up and hopefully will bring their friends who havent seen it.
Im really most excited to see if the film has the ability to kind of cross-over more into the mainstream. I think thats Newmarkets hope. There are a lot of teenagers who have embraced the film and the teenage market is pretty gigantic. Itll be interesting to see if that market can expand beyond the very specific alternative teenage audience, to see if this film could become something that the American Pie crowd could embrace. Who knows? It may never reach beyond cult status. Im proud of the cult status badge of honor, but I also believe counterculture art invading the mainstream allows for more counterculture art to exist on a greater scale. Sometimes you want your favorite song not to be overplayed on the radio and you want your favorite T-shirt you dont want a bunch of other people wearing that T-shirt because then its not cool anymore. But the unfortunate reality is that movies cost a lot of money to make and its been tough for me to get another project off the ground simply because a studio head looks at the spreadsheet on Darko and sees, Oh, that made half a million dollars. Forget it. This guys got crummy numbers.
I want to reiterate too that I didnt get into this to rip off the fans and to try to sell out to the mainstream. I honestly feel like there was always a more complete version of the film that I wanted to do. And we could have done this in 10 years. I always knew one day Id get a chance to probably do a Directors Cut. And we could have decided, No, lets wait 10 years and then do it. But it seemed like there was an appetite for it and I had a window this spring to really work on it. We figured [wed] take advantage of the opportunity now. It hasnt really been done before. There isnt really any kind of template for this kind of release. It could end up kind of being a modest, break-even situation for [Newmarket]. If it is, then great. Im just happy that I got the chance.
Did any of your Donnie Darko cast have any input or talk to you about the Directors Cut?
No. I know that Holmes Osborne and Katherine Ross always regretted that their scenes were dropped. I felt their pain because I regretted it, too. I had to cut things to get under two hours. But Im really excited for Holmes Osborne because I think hes an extraordinary actor. Eddie Darko - that role youre going to really see is greatly expanded in the Directors Cut. Youre going to see more of Maggie Gyllenhaal. Even Drew Barrymore, I think her character was kind of compromised in the theatrical cut and you didnt really understand who she was and where she was coming from. Im really excited and proud of Drew and her performance in the film. Her character is given a lot more depth and a clearer arc in the Directors Cut. Im really grateful for all of her support. Shes going to be up in Seattle, which really means a lot.
Does the Directors Cut help you put closure to the film?
Oh yeah. And believe me, Im dying for closure. I cant wait to talk about my other projects. Im very flattered and it thrills me to the bone to think that people are still talking about this film because it boosts my self-esteem and gives me more confidence and helps me to not sell myself down the river and try to make something completely down the middle. I fear as I get older, when Ive got bigger bills to pay, Ive got to start compromising. Ive got to go do that really mainstream, down-the-middle film. It may arrive very soon but, unfortunately, its all about if you can generate box office revenue for the studios, thats where you can gain your freedom. They will give you the key to the Luxury Washroom. The Executive Washroom key will be yours if you can generate revenue for them. Then you get the freedom. If audiences want to see more films like Darko, just on a bigger scale, then its all about supporting the Directors Cut. That really helps for that to happen. Its really that simple. This is a business and people are looking at a spreadsheet and if youre not high enough on that spreadsheet, then youre not going to get to do what you want to do.