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12 Dark Secrets About ‘Donnie Darko’ You Probably Didn’t Know

Donnie Darko
Pandora Cinema

‘Donnie Darko’ tells the story of a troubled teen who’s plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.

Though a not a huge success in theaters, Donnie Darko has become a cult classic and launched the careers of stars Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jena Malone.

Check out these 12 dark secrets about the making of Donnie Darko that you probably didn’t know. How did we find out? Frank the bunny told us.

Ronald Reagan Mask

A house party guest jumps on a trampoline while wearing a Ronald Reagan mask. This was inspired by a photo of Hunter S. Thompson doing the same thing




Alyssa Milano Who's The Boss

During conversations with his therapist about sex, the script had Donnie’s fantasies be about Alyssa Milano. For legal reasons, it had to be changed to Christina Applegate




Donnie Darko Movie Theater

In the movie theater scene, director Richard Kelly originally intended to have Donnie and Gretchen see the movie ‘C.H.U.D.’ but producers had problems obtaining rights to the movie. Fellow director Sam Raimi allowed Kelly to use, and distort, footage from ‘The Evil Dead’, free of charge




MC Esher Painting Donnie Darko

The poster in Donnie’s room of an eye reflecting a skull is a reproduction of an etching by M.C. Escher




Virginia Welcomes You

Richard Kelly grew up in Midlothian, Virginia, which was the town used in the original script, but was later changed to Middlesex




Pet Shop Boys

Many of the songs featured in the movie were substitutes. Producers were unable to secure rights to the original choices. The dance performance was performed to ‘West End Girls’ by the Pet Shop Boys but Duran Duran’s ‘Notorious’ replaced it in post-production




Donnie Darko Poster

The original poster art for the movie had an Arabic-style font. This was changed to a more common typeface for the video release because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks




Sparkle Motion Donnie Darko

The mystery woman seen during Sparkle Motion’s talent show performance was actually a talent scout from the show Star Search




Seth Devlin Donnie Darko

Seth Devlin, the main bully in the flick, has a name that sounds like devil. There is a sticker inside his school locker that says “What would Satan do?”




Maggie Gyllenhaal Donnie Darko

Though Richard Kelly was slightly hesitant towards casting Maggie Gyllenhaal, he did like the way she convincingly drank urine in the movie ‘Cecil B. Demented’. Kelly settled on Maggie because he realized he wouldn’t have to work hard at creating a sibling rivalry between the real life siblings




Young Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn turned down the role of Donnie because he felt he was too old to play the part. Mark Wahlberg was interested, but only willing to play the part with a lisp. Jason Schwartzman was also strongly considered for Donnie, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Tim Robbins was the first choice for Eddie Darko




Seth Rogen Donnie Darko

‘Donnie Darko’ was Seth Rogen’s film debut




NEXT: 5 Dumb Things Horror Movie Characters Do That Even Horror Writers Hate

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