‘Donnie Darko’ director says 2009 sequel was “horribly violating”

Richard Kelly had no involvement at all with the roundly-panned follow-up film 'S. Darko'

Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly has described the film’s 2009 sequel, S. Darko, as “a horribly violating” movie that made him “angry and filled with rage.”

Kelly had no involvement in the sequel to the 2001 cult classic, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Drew Barrymore. Critically panned upon its release, S. Darko barely broke even at the box office when it was released in May 2009.

Speaking to NME, Kelly recalled the emotions he felt when he discovered that a sequel to Donnie Darko was in the works, while also revealing that he couldn’t ever bring himself to watch S. Darko.


“I’ve never seen it – it was horribly violating,” Kelly said. “It was incredibly painful to think about what they were doing, it made me very angry, filled with rage.”


Kelly also debunked a number of fan theories about the much-loved 2001 original ahead of Donnie Darko‘s 15th anniversary, which will see the film returning to UK cinemas to be screened in 4k from December 23.

Asked if Donnie was dead the whole time, Kelly said he “didn’t have an answer to that question.”

“I think the film argues that life and death can perhaps coexist, that time is not necessarily a purely linear thing.”

Read the full NME interview with Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly here.

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