Exclusive: Richard Kelly Talks Donnie Darko Sequel & Rod Serling Biopic

Exclusive: Richard Kelly Talks Donnie Darko Sequel & Rod Serling Biopic

While chatting with the writer/director for the release of the new Blu-ray edition of Southland Tales with the Cannes cut included, ComingSoon.net talked with Richard Kelly a bit about his work on his long-in-development Rod Serling biopic and a potential new film set in the world of his debut hit, Donnie Darko.

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ComingSoon.net: To look away from Southland for a minute, we know that you’ve been attached to a Rod Serling biopic for a while now and I’m curious, has there been any sort of progress on it?

Richard Kelly: Well, that is a very special project. It’s a very ambitious project and we want to get it right. We want to make sure we have the right talent and the right budget and all the elements need to be just perfect for that project to get made and we have such respect for Rod Serling’s legacy and the enormous footprint that he left in our business and in our culture. So, we’ve been working on that for several years. We’ve been working closely with Anne Serling, Rod’s daughter. I’ve adapted her memoir that she published about her father and his life and it’s a very ambitious approach to a biopic and it involves a lot of fantasy elements. There is a big fantasy science fiction concept in the sort of approach that we’re taking to try and tell the story of his life. So, that’s a really complicated, difficult needle to thread, we are definitely working on it and hopefully at some point, we’ll get that project off the ground and it’s really just about getting all of the elements to work. So fingers crossed that we’ll get there and we can really pay a tribute to Rod’s life in the best possible way.

CS: Have you taken any inspiration from the graphic novel The Twilight Man in your work on it?

RK: I’m not familiar with that graphic novel, I have not read it. We have poured through all of Rod’s archives. We have done a massive deep dive into every aspect of his life and his writing in the research for the project, but that is not a book that I have read, no.

CS: A few years ago when Donnie Darko got its reissue, you had floated the concept that you were developing another story set in that universe, has there been progress on it? Are we getting closer to seeing a proper follow-up?

RK: Well, I’m probably not allowed to say anything more than there has been an enormous amount of work completed. I’m hopeful that we might get to explore that world in a very big and exciting way. But we’ll see what happens. But there has been a lot of work done. A lot of work has been done.

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Written and directed by Kelly and released in 2001, Donnie Darko is centered on the titular troubled teenager as he seeks to find the meaning behind his doomsday-related visions and the appearance of a demented bunny named Frank, who saved him from being crushed by a falling jet engine.

The acclaimed sci-fi psychological thriller featured an ensemble cast that included Jake Gyllenhaal (Spider-Man: Far From Home) in the titular role alongside Jena Malone (Antebellum), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Kindergarten Teacher), Patrick Swayze (Point Break), Mary McDonnell (Fargo), Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet), Katharine Ross (The Stepford Wives), Noah Wyle (Falling Skies) and James Duval (Independence Day).


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