Remember Donnie Darko, that movie back in 2001, where Jake Gyllenhaal starred as a troubled teenager plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident. The one that still most of us haven’t quite understood yet. Well, today is a considered a huge cult movie.
The movie opened a few weeks after 9/11, and that didn’t help Darko’s box office, so it just earned back $515,000 of its $4.5 million budget. But then New York City’s Pioneer Theater started playing ‘Donnie Darko’ as a midnight movie and kept it running for 28 months. And just like that, you got yourself a cult movie! Well fifteen years after the premiere, the movie is celebrating its anniversary by launching a 15th Anniversary Edition!
But let’s look at some fact you may not know about the movie.
8. Why is Donnie’s spectral guide a giant rabbit?
Kelly has said it’s not a reference to “Harvey” the classic 1950 comedy where everyone thinks Jimmy Stewart is crazy for conversing with a man-sized rabbit that no one else can see.
7. Cellar door.
Barrymore’s teacher imprints the key phrase “cellar door” in Donnie’s mind by telling him about the author who said that it’s the most beautiful phrase in the English language.
6. Even the movie’s crew doesn’t know what actually happened.
In case you were worried about not getting the movie, don’t feel so lonely. Back in 2007, Jake Gyllenhaal said he didn’t know what really happened in the movie. Also, director Richard Kelly admitted that he doesn’t know exactly whether the movie depicts Darko’s dreams or if it takes place in an alternate plane of existence.
5. The movie got made mainly thanks to Drew Barrymore.
Yep, the screenplay went to different producers without success, until it fell in Drew’s hands. With her company Flower Films, she raised the budget and got some Hollywood big names to jump into the project.
4. Patrick Swayze wore his own clothes.
The actor, who played a motivational speaker whose deeply troubles are exposed, wore his own clothes in the 1980s film.
3. Debut film.
Donnie Darko put the Gyllenhaal sibling in the map, but it also marked the feature film debut of Seth Rogen. The Canadian actor played a high school bully in the film. Also, it was the first big-screen appearance of Ashley Tisdale.
2. References to Kelly’s favorites movies.
The movie makes references to some of Kelly’s favorite movies, such as the bike scene which makes reference to Spielberg’s E.T, and “Back to the Future”.
1. Rabbits, rabbits everywhere. It’s like rabbitception.
Rabbits appeared everywhere in the movie. In the music, when The Echo and the Bunnymen song “The Killing Moon” is featured in one scene as a Volkswagen Rabbit drives by; a stuffed rabbit appears next to Elizabeth Darko as she sleeps; Donnie appears in a photo dressed as a rabbit, and he also carves Frank’s likeness into a jack-o-lantern.