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Richard Kelly Cracks Open THE BOX For Mr. Beaks!

After wrestling with the philosophy of time travel in DONNIE DARKO and the addled state of a partially nuked America in SOUTHLAND TALES, writer-director Richard Kelly has done the unthinkable with THE BOX. He's kept it simple. Based on a six-page short story by Richard Matheson titled "Button, Button" (which was turned into a TWILIGHT ZONE episode in 1986), Kelly's third film is basically a three-character thriller set in 1976 about a young, happily married Virginia couple, Arthur and Norma Lewis (James Marsden and Cameron Diaz), whose lives are irrevocably altered when a hideously deformed stranger, Arlington Steward, (Frank Langella) turns up on their doorstep with a mysterious box. Inside the box is a button. If the button is pressed, two things will happen: 1) the Lewis' will receive $1 million, and 2) a random person they do not know will die. When I chatted with Kelly about the film last week, he sounded relieved to be free and clear of the multiple storylines and divergent concepts that kept his first two movies from connecting with mainstream audiences. "I really tried to keep it simple on this," he said. "It's under two hours, I don't have, like, thirty characters and prequel graphic novels. It's nice to do something simple." He paused, and there was the beginning of a mischievous grin. As with the button, there's a catch. "But 'simple' for me always ends up becoming complicated in some way." When you see the trailer (which is scheduled to go online in a week or so), you'll see what he means. Though the premise couldn't be clearer, what was once a twenty-four-minute parable has been expanded to include an investigation into Steward's background, a nefarious organization (which employs Steward), and some intriguing science-fiction elements (NASA's Viking program is involved somehow). Obviously, liberties have been taken. But Kelly has done more than expand Matheson's narrative. He's personalized it. As you'll read in the below interview, Kelly has set the film in and around the part of Virginia where he grew up and imbued the main characters with many of his parents' qualities (e.g., Arthur works at NASA, as did Kelly's father). And while THE BOX was shot digitally using the Genesis camera, Kelly has designed it to look like a 1970s film (he references both Roman Polanski and Vilmos Zsigmond as inspirations). It's strange that Kelly waited until he made his first studio film to dig this deep into his childhood, but everything he's done up until now has been confounding in one sense or another. What's important this time around is that Kelly is as focused and comfortable as I've ever seen him. Whatever he set out to do with THE BOX, it seems pretty clear that he's accomplished it. We'll have to wait until October 30th to find out for ourselves. For now, I offer up this wide-ranging (and completely spoiler-free) conversation which touches on Kelly's smooth sailing with the MPAA, why he chose to adapt "Button, Button", how he digitally removed a third of Langella's face, and much more. He does talk briefly about the Bernard Herrmann-esque score by Arcade Fire's Win Butler, Regine Chassagne and Owen Pallett - which is finished, but will not be heard in the trailer. (I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the music in the trailer is from DARK CITY.) This is a long, sometimes tech-heavy discussion, but there are lots of fascinating insights into the digital filmmaking process. I hope you dig it.

Richard Kelly: Funny enough, there's not one cuss word in the entire film. (Laughs)

Mr. Beaks: Is that by design?

Kelly: Yeah. I wanted to make a suspense film that was old-fashioned. And it's sort of for my mom, too. The film has a lot to do with my parents, and I wanted to make a movie that they would be 100% behind when they saw it. I thought it would be nice to try to make a suspense film and try to scare people without resorting to gore or violence. I'm sort of trying to be an old-fashioned prude and give myself those restrictions: PG-13, don't resort to violence and... no foul language as well!(Laughs) I just threw that in there. When you see the MPAA thing on the trailer, it lists, like, "Disturbing Images." There is some violence in it, but there's nothing in there about language. In pretty much every PG-13 banner, there's something in there about language.

Beaks: So why isn't it just PG?

Kelly: Because Frank Langella is missing half of his face. That, technically, is gore. But when you see it, it's a disfigurement; it's not like he has blood and stuff hanging and oozing from his face. It's disturbing.

Beaks: Still, I'm a bit surprised. Raimi got away with so much in DRAG ME TO HELL.

Kelly: This was never even a concern. That's another thing you learn when you make a studio film: you submit materials to the MPAA even before you start shooting. We did the mold of Langella's face, and then our makeup artist carved out a gigantic chunk of his face, where you can see his teeth and everything. He did the sculpture, digitally scanned it, and then Langella wore green makeup and dots all over his face so we could digitally redo his face. We had all of that stuff submitted to the MPAA even before shooting, and worked with them to make sure that we would be completely within PG-13. And when I was editing the film around May of 2008, when Chris Nolan was putting the finishing touches on THE DARK KNIGHT, I went to his editing house, met him and his wife, and they showed me Two-Face's digital makeup to make sure that what they were doing wasn't too similar to what we were doing with Langella - which was cool. We were in completely different places, but it was still pushing into new territory in terms of digital makeup. But, yeah, we were a-ok on the PG-13 to begin with. It's funny you mention DRAG ME TO HELL. I'm trying to think where the most gore in that actually happened.

Beaks: There's the embalming fluid gag. That's pretty nasty. And there is blood. There's that bloody nose bit.

Kelly: Where the blood sprays out of her nose? And that's the thing with blood. You'd be surprised how quickly too much blood pushed that PG-13 to R. They have these weird little rules.

Beaks: I think it also depends on what kind of day they're having. Like if you catch them right after they saw some cannibal horror flick.

Kelly: Yeah, they just saw something really intense, and when they see yours, it's not as intense. It's definitely a little bit of a crap shoot, but I've been fortunate not to ever really be pushing any boundaries. Listen, certain films, like THE HANGOVER, have to be R. But there are so many obstacles you have to overcome to get a film made at a studio, and get what you want out of it, that if you can figure out a way to make it PG-13 and still get what you want as an artist, it makes your life a lot easier. It really does. I love DRAG ME TO HELL. Had they pushed it into R, maybe he could've shown more, but I think the film worked pretty damn good as a PG-13.

Beaks: When you talk about wanting to do this as an old-fashioned movie, is that because of the Richard Matheson pedigree, which is tied into THE TWILIGHT ZONE?

Kelly: Yeah, it's his pedigree. The short story was published in 1970 in PLAYBOY. It's only about six to eight pages long. We held on to the character names of Arthur and Norma Lewis, and I gave Mr. Steward a first name, Arlington. It's very faithful to the spirit of the story. And being aware of Matheson and THE TWILIGHT ZONE... he did re-write his story for the later version of the show in 1986. So there's Matheson's pedigree and the fact that the story takes place in 1976. With all of those elements together, I felt like I wanted this to have an old-fashioned quality, to have that feeling you get when you watch those old TWILIGHT ZONE episodes - but also to feel like a 1970s picture in a way. I wanted it to feel like it was made in the '70s, like with that style of photography. Even though we did use the Genesis camera... and I remember in an interview or a commentary I did somewhere that I said, "If I ever shoot a '70s period piece, I'll never shoot it digitally." (Laughs) I've officially flip-flopped my position. Because once I saw ZODIAC... that's so beautiful and consistent, I absolutely felt like I was looking into the '60s and '70s. [Fincher] used the Viper on that film and BENJAMIN BUTTON, and, like I said, we used the Genesis on THE BOX. But it was a flawless experience. We had no problems with the camera system. We did a bunch of tests with filters and the shutter speed and daylight exteriors - a lot of testing to make sure that we were doing everything right so that we'd get a consistent look.

Beaks: Just to replicate the look of the film stock from that era?

Kelly: Not exactly. With some of the filters, yes. In terms of haloing some of the light and getting a subtle glow from lightbulbs and headlights, that soft quality that you might feel is reminiscent of Polanski.

Beaks: Or Vilmos Zsigmond?

Kelly: Yeah, Vilmos Zsigmond a bit. It's funny. When Marsden saw the film last week, he brought up DRESSED TO KILL and early De Palma for some reason. We do use a lot of zoom lenses. But because it's the Genesis, it has clarity that's beyond that. But it still does not feel digital. I've seen it digitally projected and I've seen a print, and I have to say I prefer the print because Genesis transfers to film beautifully. It's such a great camera system. Normally, when I see digitally-photographed films, I prefer to seem them digitally projected. And I do prefer digital projection only because I hate cigarette burns at the reel changes. And I hate it when the plate system is not well calibrated and you sometimes lose a few seconds in between changes. That drives me crazy - especially when it's a film I directed. My biggest nightmare is having a press screening where the projectionist is not quite hitting the reel changes right. That's upsetting. And that's why I'm like, "Please, just digitally project it." But I'm really happy with the print [of THE BOX].

Beaks: Who was your DP again?

Kelly: It's Steven Poster, who shot DONNIE DARKO and SOUTHLAND TALES. It's our third time together. We really went for it in diving into the digital world. There are two shots in the film that were shot with film cameras because we had to go up to maybe 120 frames-per-second, really slo-mo stuff that we couldn't do with the Genesis. But it's completely digital other than that. It was a huge asset, too, in terms of the performances. Jimmy and Cameron would love to do serious takes, where, for instance, in the Corvette on the way to the rehearsal dinner - and, actually, that got cut out of the film - or sitting across from each other at the kitchen table having a discussion about the button unit or lying in bed having a discussion as they're watching Johnny Carson... they would just love to run the scene as many as like six or seven times without me saying cut. So they'd run it, start over, run it again, and we'd just run the tape out. I ended up getting more takes on this film - and I had more days and a bigger budget than I've ever had to work with, which helped, too. But I eneded up getting more takes on this film than I ever have because you don't have to reload. It was also because of Langella's face and the digital f/x work. Eliminating scanning from the process helped a great deal. We had to send all of his face shots to multiple f/x houses, like to India to have the clean dots removed from the clean part of [the face], and out to Venice Beach for a gradient. There are only 300 visual f/x shots in the movie. It's not like a visual f/x movie. I mean, there is a science-fiction element to the film, and there is some stuff that is clearly CGI in the story sense that you know you're looking at something otherworldly. But there's also Langella's face and a lot of wide shots of Richmond, Virginia where we very meticulously transformed all of the buildings and all the architecture back to the way it was in 1976. And we added 1970s digital cars. And snow. A lot of digital snow we had to add in places. There are a lot of invisible CGI shots all throughout the movie. There'a a shot we did in the mirror of Arthur's Corvette; he's pulling away, and you see a kid at the valet [making a peace sign] in the rearview mirror. It's an impossible shot to get that we had to digitally sandwich in. I really felt like I had more toys to play with on this movie. And it's great to feel like you're using the technology to tell the story and not just to show off with it. I had to do a lot of convincing... it was a big effort to get the digital version of Langella's face as opposed to just makeup. It's hard to subtract a third of someone's face by adding a bunch of stuff, because then you have to add a whole bunch and subtract from that. And then it just ends up looking like a guy with a bunch of appliances glued to his face. Frank and I both really wanted to do it digitally. And I'm really happy that we did. I feel like whenever Frank is on screen, you can't take your eyes off of him because... (Laughs) well, because half of his face is missing! But you're clearly looking at something that isn't there as opposed to something that's been glued on. It's negative space. And it took a long time, like eight months, to finish all the CGI. But I'm glad we got it that way.

Beaks: You saved Frank a lot of tedious hours in makeup every morning.

Kelly: The way old-age makeup has evolved is amazing. Seeing what they did in BENJAMIN BUTTON, but also in GREY GARDENS. I thought the makeup was extraordinary in that, what they did with Drew [Barrymore] and Jessica [Lange]. I loved the film, and the performances were unbelievable, but the makeup looked terrific. And that was a film where, had the makeup not looked terrific, it would've gotten in the way of how great the actresses were. Even for television, I was amazed at the quality they achieved in that film. It's exciting how the science of makeup is improving.

Beaks: Regarding your meticulous approach to depicting that era, it seems like one of the big difficulties with period films is how do you make it feel of that time without it being about, "Hey, it's the 1970s! Groovy, man!"

Kelly: I hope the film feels lived in, in the sense that you feel like you are living in the world of 1976, but not in a way that's too self-conscious or too kitschy. You can't get away from kitsch in the 1970s because it was everywhere. But also in Richmond, Virginia, which is a very conservative Southern city. It was the capital of the confederacy. It's the northern end of the South. It's where I grew up, and it's where my family still lives. And you're dealing with the suburbs. But I feel like we were able to... like, one of the biggest things was the wallpaper. '70s wallpaper is intense. So we have some very intense wallpaper in the movie.

Beaks: Maybe that's why you got a PG-13. "Intense Wallpaper."

Kelly: (Laughs) Right. But you look at the research, and people had crazy patterns. It's kind of beautiful. I mean, it's jarring at first, and some of it is coming back. But from room-to-room in houses, people would have jarring shifts in the style of wallpaper. People do that today, but back then it was very aggressive in terms of different patterns put next to each other. And there were a lot of earth colors, a lot of brown and green and stuff. And you've just got to embrace that in a way where you don't go crazy with it. So I feel like we've utilized restraint. But it's very fun. And it's made me really want to do more period pieces, like deeper in the past, and find a way to photograph the past in a way that hasn't been done before. All of the authentic Richmond stuff that we did... it was so fun spending hours looking at meticulous historical photos of downtown Richmond. It's stuff that a lot of people wouldn't notice, but we went to a lot of effort to remove any hint of modern signage or vehicles or anything. I just find that's the most fun part of the filmmaking process for me - where you can really do your homework with CG and get into all the details as much as possible. It's really exciting.

Beaks: Do you think you might be moving in a more Zemeckis direction?

Kelly: It's interesting you say that. I can't get too much into it, but my next project might have a significant amount of motion capture in it. It's only about thirty-five percent of the film that will have motion capture; the rest is completely real world. Because I will never, ever... I will always love to be on location in a real place photographing actors in a real environment. That is incredibly exciting. But there's also something amazing about manufacturing a world from scratch. They're both incredibly exciting. So in the next film, I'm going to try to have both: very gritty location work and a bunch of CGI stuff that fits together in a very organic way.

Beaks: That's the right balance. I really believe that. You don't want to abuse it. You want to use it to augment that which is real and tangible.

Kelly: I don't know if I could do a whole film on a greenscreen stage. I need to be in the real world for at least part of it. But I've also seen all of the behind-the-scenes on BEOWULF and THE POLAR EXPRESS, and all the motion capture stuff that Zemeckis... pioneered, really, and that other people are pioneering as we speak. It is incredibly exciting and cool to see Anthony Hopkins and Robin Wright Penn walking around with all of the dots in that big beer drinking hall in BEOWULF, and all the props are wireframe props painted pink or green so that the cameras... can see through the props and still capture all of the information from all of the actors' bodies. There's something really surreal about that, and you can see the actors really enjoying it. I think motion capture to me is more exciting than just greenscreen. And I think Langella felt this too. Because there were all of these things attached to his face, it gave him something to work with. We decided early on that his performance as Arlington Steward... he wanted it to be like Fred Astaire showing up at the front door to charm his way into the house. Because he's got this job to do: he has to get into the house and make the offer. He's like a traveling salesman. But he has half of his face missing. So he has to disarm Cameron when he first sees her. But, overall, his performance is very understated. And I remember the studio giving us comments on the dailies. It was very nerve-wracking, but I remember most of the comments were very positive and supportive; we had that sort of sigh of relief after the first week. But I remember one of the comments was that they were concerned that Frank was too soft-spoken and understated as the villain. And we were like, "Don't worry. When you see what his face looks like, he doesn't need to do anymore than that. The face is going to make such an impression." I was definitely glad we made that choice. But it was very complicated. You had to have all of these additional digital cameras capturing all of the volume-metric space that it sits in and everything. (Laughs) It's really complicated.

Beaks: How many cameras did you need?

Kelly: You have to have three additional HD cameras. And then you have to pull all of the actors out and do clean plates with the motion-tracking head. And then they have to go in with a ball with a mirror on it. They hold the ball up to where his face is to get the reflection of the light in the room. Because there's a partial translucence with skin tissue, and ambient light glows through it. It's a very intricate process in creating digital skin tissue so that the lighting in the natural environment where you're photographing the actor has some sort of translucent effect... so that it doesn't look like you're looking at digital skin. It's actually much more complicated than I'm articulating right now. It added probably four or five days to our shooting schedule - which made everyone's eyes roll back into their heads. "Can't we do it digitally?" And they're like, "Richard, it's going to add four days to the shooting schedule and this amount of money to our postproduction budget. Do it with makeup." Those are the battles you have to fight. But when everyone saw it at the end, they were like, "Whew! Thank god we did it digitally!"

Beaks: So what was the point of reference for Cameron and James in terms of portraying their characters?

Kelly: My parents. They spent a lot of time with my parents. The short story is six pages long, and Arthur and Norma... there wasn't time for their backstory. So I thought, "Here's this amazing premise about greed and responsibility and so many things that you can't put into words. There's this button, and being responsible for the death of another human being, and what constitutes responsibility." And I thought, "We want to tell this story and expose this premise to two characters, let them be very moral people, very likable people." And I figured that I felt that way about my parents, and that this is the type of movie they would love. They exposed me to Alfred Hitchcock when I was a young teenager; they showed me REAR WINDOW and THE BIRDS and PSYCHO. So I thought, "What if I take their love story and life in Richmond, Virginia as an upwardly middle class couple in 1976, and place them into Richard Matheson's short story?" And that's what I did - which all of a sudden made it the most personal film I've ever made. (Laughs) They have a son [in the film] who's ten or eleven. I obviously would barely be one year old in 1976, but you could argue that their single child is maybe a representation of me in the story. So all of a sudden I feel like I'm making this profoundly personal film, which, at the same time, is this mainstream studio thriller with this high-concept premise. So it was sort of an interesting merger of my parents' story with Matheson's story, which was written before I was even alive but that I discovered on THE TWILIGHT ZONE in 1986. I was in my parents' bedroom watching THE TWILIGHT ZONE with my dad when I saw "Button, Button" for the first time. So to think that I've taken them and plugged them into this Matheson concept is... to this day, I can't believe that we pulled it off. So that's why Jimmy and Cameron spent a lot of time around my parents. Cameron listened to my mom talk for forty-five minutes and recorded it. She recorded a phone conversation of my mom talking about her life. And then she went to a dialogue coach to learn how to do my mom's Texas accent. Meanwhile, Jimmy did a Virginia accent because my dad's from Virginia. Their Southern accents are slightly different. And when my parents came on set for five or six shooting days, they were just freaking out. They felt like they had stepped into a TWILIGHT ZONE episode by being on set. It's very meta. You have my parents feeling like they're in a TWILIGHT ZONE episode watching James Marsden and Cameron Diaz portray very personal, autobiographical things about their life with their son directing it in this amazing Richard Matheson story that we've all grown up with. (Laughs It was really, really interesting. Then we shot at NASA down at Langley for a week, which is where my dad worked for fifteen years. Marsden drives a silver Corvetts in the film - and my dad didn't drive a Corvette; he drove a Pontiac. But Marsden drives into this press conference at the NASA campus facility down there where my dad attended the press conference for Viking. He also used to play basketball for the NASA basketball league. But literally my dad is looking at a younger version of himself driving to work in the same exact manner that he did at a place that hasn't changed since the '70s. The Langley facility down at NASA has not changed at all since the '70s; it's like you're in a time warp down there. So it was really pretty surreal. It really gave Jimmy and Cameron homework to do. That's one thing: you want your actors to leave your meeting with a big stack of books, because then they come back to you with so much and so many questions. You get a lot of the direction out of the way, so when you're on set you can focus on the details. Everyone's not trying to play catch up.

Beaks: By working your parents into this story, is this an attempt at some kind of catharsis? Or are you just personalizing the story so that it's got a more tragic or heartbreaking dimension.

Kelly: It's definitely heartbreaking. And it's not that my parents are the kind of people who would push the button or anything like that. I don't think they are. It's more about taking people who... I personally know that my parents are very good people, and I have an enormous amount of respect for them. But in the episode that aired in '86, their Norma was a shrew and he was a weasel; they were kind of annoying and selfish. I didn't want that to be the case at all with the film; I wanted them to be extremely likable and extremely intelligent people, characters you really care about. But even those characters can be tempted by this dilemma. That's part of Arlington Steward's agenda, which is revealed at the end of the film. If this is ultimately some sort of test that's being conducted on humanity, they would seek out the best and brightest examples of humanity. They would choose and try to snare people who would be least likely to commit an act of violence. Arlington's not going to show up at the house of a sleazy, amoral couple that would push the button within ten seconds of him making the offer. He's not going to go those people. He's going to go to the people who are least likely to do it to see if he can convince them. And then, ultimately, what are the consequences on those people once the button is pushed, and what actions do they take after - because [THE BOX] is all about act two and act three. Can they save themselves? What is the meaning of this thing? And what ramifications does it have for perhaps the entire planet? It gets into a lot of really big ideas. And I thought if there was going to be a married couple at the center of it, why not make it my mom and dad? (Laughs) They haven't seen the film, but my hope is that they'll get a real kick out of it, that it'll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. You know, as your parents are getting older, you always want to pay them back in some way; you want to give them a gift for all the sacrifices they made. It's definitely a risk, you know, asking my parents if it's okay to bring elements of your personal life into this. They trusted me with it, so my hope is that they're happy with it, and they feel like it was something that made their lives more enjoyable. We'll see what happens. Hopefully they don't hate it.

Beaks: That's a great way of coming at the story. It solves the problem of "How do you expand the short story?" You make it about good people who get tripped up morally. Now you've got a three-act story, and not just a twenty-four minute parable.

Kelly: Then they have to become detectives in act two and act three. And Arlington knows that. It almost becomes a game that they play. They're playing into his hand. And then it's "Can Arlington be conquered? Can he be defeated? And can they discover the identity of his employers?" - which is something that is ultimately to be debated. I hope it's one of the big things that is debated about the film. There's a lot to chew on when you leave the theater. I spent a lot of time working through the story. We had a lot of people from NASA coming on as story advisers. A gentleman named Gentry Lee, who worked with Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke for many years; he helped co-create the television show COSMOS, and co-wrote the RAMA series with Clarke. He is still an employee of JPL in Pasadena, and has been a part of many of the space missions. He was very closely involved with the Viking lander, which landed on Mars in 1976. My dad is about ten years younger than Gentry; my dad was a younger scientist at Langley at the time who worked on the early camera system concept for the Viking before it got launched for the first time. He was one of several teams that was given the task of creating this system, and it was my dad's team's concept that they chose to go with after several years of development. So it was interesting having Gentry brought on to the film as a consultant. He actually has a role in the film; he plays one of Arthur's bosses, and has a few lines. So it was great to bring in all of these NASA guys, and have them sort of vet the logic of the film, and talk about the philosophy of it. We really spent long dinners with Cameron and Jimmy and Gentry just going through the entire script, and he brought so much to it. We're going to have him do his commentary track on the DVD. He's literally the smartest human being I've ever met in my entire life. He speaks seven languages, and his wife is now pregnant with his eighth child.

Beaks: Jesus! How old is he now?

Kelly: He's seventy.

Beaks: That's impressive.

Kelly: Yeah. But I spent a long time really working on the story, and hopefully turning it into something that is thought provoking. I guess I can show you the trailer. (Pulls out a laptop.) The music in the film was done by Win Butler, Regine Chassagne and Owen Pallett.

Beaks: That's the whole Arcade Fire collaboration we've been hearing about.

Kelly: Right. And Owen is a part of Final Fantasy, but he collaborates with Arcade Fire quite a bit. Marcus Dravs engineered the score with them. He did their last two albums and just did Coldplay's new album.

Beaks: That's a bit of a coup.

Kelly: It was a long, long courtship to get them to do it. The score from the trailer is not them. It's sort of trailer score, you know?

Beaks: And this is the score that will be on the final trailer?

Kelly: Yes, I believe so. Just so you know that, when you hear the score, it's not Win and Regine. You've probably heard the trailer score before. But in a weird way, when you're trying to broadly market a film... I don't question the science of it. Because they do have it down to a science. But the score that [Win, Regine and Owen] did is very Bernard Herrmann. It's very lush. They did eighty minutes of score.

Beaks: Really? Depending on the run time of the movie, that's a lot. Did you let them score long passages of the film?

Kelly: There's a sequence in the library with no dialogue for four minutes that's all music. It's a very score-heavy film. And there's pop songs in it, too. We have Eric Clapton, Grateful Dead, Wilson Pickett, Scott Walker and The Marshall Tucker Band. It's Virginia 1976, so I wanted to have that Southern Rock flavor. (Laughs) I'm just grateful to have a film coming out on more than fifty screens with a marketing budget of more than $300,000.

We'll have a link to the trailer the minute it hits next week. I should also note that Kelly will be showing footage from the film at Comic Con in July. THE BOX opens nationwide on October 30th, 2009. Faithfully submitted, Mr. Beaks

Readers Talkback
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  • June 18, 2009, 1:34 a.m. CST

    Hope he's back on his game with this one...

    by Forsakyn

    Sounds really promising.

  • June 18, 2009, 1:45 a.m. CST

    I have forgotten that cinematic abortion called...

    by Lashlarue


  • June 18, 2009, 1:48 a.m. CST

    Southland Tales...

    by Harold-Sherbort

    ...didn't deserve all the hate it got. It was a little odd, but I enjoyed it for what it was. At least the guy had the balls to make it.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:18 a.m. CST

    Wasn't Matt Frewer the guy in the Twilight Zone...

    by Somerichs

    Version? And I'da bet money it was from Tales From the Darkside...I'd be wrong, but i'da done it...

  • June 18, 2009, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Kelly came to talk to my school this year

    by BrightEyes

    he's such a cool and down to earth guy

  • June 18, 2009, 2:29 a.m. CST

    Sounds passionate and excited

    by ahnmin

    Awesome interview. The man is just gushing with excitement for this project. You can sense it with every answer. I love that Kelly's a young enthusiastic film maker who clearly loves what he's doing and what he's made, rather than giving some ironic self-aggrandizing answers. Sounds like a humble artist with a great future. Great interview again, Beaks!

  • June 18, 2009, 2:36 a.m. CST

    Matheson's story is pretty great...

    by a goonie I have high hopes for this one. It will tough to take that tiny story and stretch into a feature-length movie, but I am very excited to see what Kelly has come up with.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:49 a.m. CST

    Fuck it, I'd do it...

    by ErnestBorgNine

    why not? A million bucks is a lot of money.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:51 a.m. CST

    thats why youuuurrr a bad person

    by BrightEyes

  • June 18, 2009, 3:37 a.m. CST

    Scott Walker?

    by gotilk

    Hmm. What period of his? Hell, pretty much any period would work in this context. From the early walker brothers pop music to the "beating of meat as percussion" period.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:37 a.m. CST


    by SunTzu77

    did deserve the hate. I liked Donnie Darko though.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:45 a.m. CST

    Looking forward to it

    by zapano

    70s look, Bernard Herman type music, suspense rather than gore or violence? He's ticking all my boxes <p> Donnie Darko was a great film and I know a few people that have a real attachment to it who wouldn't necessarily be obsessed about movies. The director's cut was superflous and I skipped Southland Tales purely because of reviews. But this sounds great.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:57 a.m. CST

    Sounds intriguing. Not sure about the science aspect though.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • June 18, 2009, 4:33 a.m. CST

    great read!

    by moviemaven83

  • June 18, 2009, 4:44 a.m. CST

    someone spoil it!

    by ironic_name

    do they press the button and abort their unborn child?

  • June 18, 2009, 5:03 a.m. CST

    Yet, the MPAA will still claim

    by comedian_x

    they don't censor movies. Having filmmakers submit materials to them before the movie is even made isn't a "guide to parents" as they always claim their mission is. <p> Now, this isn't Hayes code YET, but it may soon be. Hopefully the uncensored nature of the internet will be a check on the MPAA's rating excesses.

  • June 18, 2009, 5:29 a.m. CST

    I hated the script

    by Brendon

    Which is very sad, because around 20 pages in, I thought it was going to be great. Acts 2 and 3 are an absolute calamity. Catastrophy. Disgrace. Debacle. Worse that Southland Tales, even, and significantly so. What a waste.

  • June 18, 2009, 5:29 a.m. CST

    I'd press that button until I ruin the world economy...

    by Duncan Irons

  • June 18, 2009, 5:54 a.m. CST

    You give that box to Snake Plissken

    by palimpsest

    And you've got the world's shortest film right there.

  • June 18, 2009, 5:56 a.m. CST

    Hey, Comedian X, can you read?

    by The Bicycle Sharer

    The MPAA doesn't "have filmmakers submit material." Studios do that during the process to ensure the rating that they want to get the audience that they want. The MPAA doesn't REQUIRE shit.

  • June 18, 2009, 6:06 a.m. CST

    fingers crossed

    by The InSneider

    First of all, great interview Beaks. Second, I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope this one turns out good. I'm rooting for Richard. And can't wait to hear that score!

  • June 18, 2009, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Fuckin' A that was a cool interview

    by NightAvatar

    Excellent interview, thanks for sharing Mr Beaks! I'm actually looking forward to this now even though I thought Kelly was a one-hit-wonder with Darco being so great and his next film being so.. average.

  • June 18, 2009, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Sounds like another surefire blockbuster for Kelly!!!

    by JuanSanchez

    Hope you caught the sarcasm, cause I was laying it on pretty thick.

  • June 18, 2009, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Comedian X, that MPAA/studio thing

    by The Bicycle Sharer

    Sounded more dicky than I wanted. Sorry. Didn't mean to offend.<p>The point of that process, however, is to give studios a "leg to stand on" if they get any rating other than the one that they were aiming for. Gives them the ability to point back at a string of decisions and advice and say,...<p>Look, motherfuckers, you told us "PG-13," "PG-13," and "PG-13," now, all of a sudden, it's fucking "R!" Think again, bitches!<p>But the MPAA does not censor. It can't. Show me one movie that the MPAA cut. Not the studio on their advice. Not the director on their advice. The MPAA.<p>The MPAA provides an arbitrary ratings system created and guided by imperfect, inconsistent, and fallible human beings. Might not be to you're taste or preference, but that's what director's cuts, DVDs, and the internet are for, as you noted.

  • June 18, 2009, 6:48 a.m. CST

    That's "YOUR preference"

    by The Bicycle Sharer

    Not "YOU'RE preference." 'Cause I'm retarded.

  • June 18, 2009, 8:54 a.m. CST

    To all button pushers

    by Tindog42

    Here is something to consider. Somewhere there may be another button in someone else’s hands, when pushed will end your life. Are they a greedy self-serving SOB or a more morally reflective type. Attempts to expand an excellent short story to fill out feature run time can be very tricky. When it works you have “Duel”. When it doesn’t you end up with “Cold Equations”. Considered by many (including myself) as one of the best (if not the best) Science Fiction short stories ever written. The 80’s edition of the ‘Twilight Zone’ produced a decent adaptation but the 1996 TV movie added story elements and themes that lost the power of the short story and reduced it to a standard 90’s tale of conspiracies and cliché characters. If you know nothing of the original story it’s average TV movie fare but as an adaption it’s pure disaster. Of course “Duel” did have a bit of advantage. It was adapted by the writer of the original story, Richard Matheson, and directed by a young Steven Spielberg.

  • June 18, 2009, 8:54 a.m. CST

    The button is a cookbook!

    by tonagan

    Oops. Wrong story.

  • June 18, 2009, 8:55 a.m. CST

    The button is actually the devil!

    by tonagan

    No, it's not that one either.

  • June 18, 2009, 8:55 a.m. CST

    The button breaks its glasses at the end!

    by tonagan

    That's it.

  • June 18, 2009, 8:56 a.m. CST

    My son's a box!

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    DAMN YOU....A BOX!!!

  • June 18, 2009, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Interesting location shoot

    by Philvis

    I find it interesting that they filmed the bulk of it in Boston instead of Richmond itself. Richmond is often used as a backdrop for D.C., so I figured they would have filmed it here since the city has become film friendly over the past couple decades. This movie sounded really interesting the first time I heard about it and after reading this interview, I definitely plan on seeing it unless the trailer tells me otherwise.

  • June 18, 2009, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Richard Kelly

    by hebrokeaway

    Kelly is one of the hottest men alive. He needs to go the Eli Roth route and get in front of the camera, too. I'm not gay, but I'd totally make out with him.

  • June 18, 2009, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Two assholes talking about wallpaper

    by one_guy_from_andromeda

    Beaks is really into Kelly?! What a shock!!! If there ever were two pretentious douchebags that were made for each other it's these two. Why is anybody still caring for what Kelly does? This is the man who is responsible for two of the worst cinematic abominations of the last years. Donny Darko wasn't that hot either. <p>"I've been fortunate not to ever really be pushing any boundaries." Kelly says - he's talking about the gore, but it applies to everything this middle of the road wannabe genius has ever produced. The way idiotic hacks like this guy get taken seriously nowadays is sickening. <p>

  • June 18, 2009, 9:13 a.m. CST

    hell fuckin yeah...The Box next to Inglorious Basterds &

    by TheDark0Knight

    Shutter Island is one of my most anticipated films this year. Ive loved everything Kelly's directed & I even liked Domino. The Box cannot hit theaters soon enough...I hope it plays the Toronto Film Festival. October 30th is way to far away.

  • June 18, 2009, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Matheson HATED the Twilight Zone episode...

    by Cap'n Jack

    ...because the ending deviated so much from his story. I'm curious as to whether The Box used Matheson's ending or the TZ ending.

  • June 18, 2009, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Can you look at the pic of Kelly above w/o wanting to punch him

    by TheApostle

    Just asking.

  • June 18, 2009, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Nothing Exciting

    by Aquatarkusman

    Except Langella, although I'm wondering how he got suckered into it. Marsden and Diaz scream blandness. This looks to be one of those 'training wheels' films they give a director to prove they can obey studio dictates.

  • June 18, 2009, 9:50 a.m. CST

    DEAL OR NO DEAL:The Movie!

    by jarjarmessiah

    So is Langella supposed to be Howie?

  • June 18, 2009, 9:53 a.m. CST


    by Aquatarkusman

    We'll know if he inflates a surgical glove covering half of his half of a face.

  • June 18, 2009, 9:54 a.m. CST

    Man what a great ending for this film would be

    by Series7

    Is if there is a big dramatic moment and then just a fade to black, or both of their hands on the button then CLICK! Credits roll with some bad ass heavy 70s rock (probably Viking Song, which every time I hear I have this amazing shot of Vikings going on a rampage montage which one day I will direct starring Zac Efron) which fades to the nice score music. NO ANIMALS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM. then there is a shot of a guy walking down a street, we see him from behind and then he just falls over. Or a family is sitting there eating dinner talking when all of the sudden one of them faceplants into the mash patatoes and gravy.

  • June 18, 2009, 10:28 a.m. CST

    After Southland Tales...

    by Traumnovelle

    ..fuck Richard Kelly. I am fairly certain I've never seen a worse movie than Southland Tales.

  • June 18, 2009, 10:42 a.m. CST


    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    Donnie Darko was a good really was a good movie. The reason that so many people geeked out over it is it was one of the few that we all discovered ourselves without the aid of a million media outlets telling us to love it. That really doesn't happen that much anymore. <br> <br> But the bottom line was just a good movie. It wasn't the second coming of cinema, and it did have its problems; namely, Jake G.'s acting. <br> <br> Then came Southland Tales. <br> <br> Apparently, the only way to appreciate this movie was to buy all of Kelly's graphic novels and his crib sheets written on wadded up pieces of toilet paper. It was fucking horrible. Really fucking horrible. <br> <br> So, we've got a director who has given us a really good, not great, movie, and a steaming turd. <br> <br> Why does he get this attention? <br> <br> He certainly doesn't deserve it, he's made one good movie. I think he still has to prove to us that he can acheive greatness, and doesn;t deserve all the attention until he does. He has lined himself up with Richard Matheson which is promising but an eight page story made into a feature length film? I dunno, I'll wait to see this one on cable.

  • June 18, 2009, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Cameron Diaz's Box

    by Hint_of_Smegma

    I mean, c'mon, she was MADE for this movie title.

  • June 18, 2009, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Southland Tales = Ass

    by Jack Shepherd

    One of the worst movies I've ever seen, hands down. Simultaneously over-complicated and astoundingly stupid. Proved to me that Donnie Darko was a fluke.

  • June 18, 2009, 11:22 a.m. CST

    DRAG ME TO HELL is still in theaters!

    by NoDiggity

    Please go see it.<br><br> Why are you wasting time with these bad movies when Sam Raimi's fantastic "Drag Me to Hell" is still in theaters? Join the "Drag Me To Hell" talkback! <br><br> <br><br>

  • June 18, 2009, 11:28 a.m. CST

    DRAG ME TO HELL is still shit.

    by Hint_of_Smegma

    You heard me. It was watchable at best, and it was nowhere near the Evil Dead level of awesome that Raimi is capable of. Hawking sub-par work from him like this just means we'll get more lazy films from him like we've had ever since he mainstreamed. Hoping for a comeback. Drag Me To Hell wasn't it though.

  • June 18, 2009, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Southland Tales is amazing

    by Tin Snoman

    The fact that the film actually exists just boggles the mind. Haters can hate all they want; it may be impenetrably plotted, it may be oddly cast, and it definitely has its flaws, but Southland Tales has Christopher Lambert driving an ice cream truck, and in my book that counts for something.

  • June 18, 2009, 11:37 a.m. CST

    Great interview.

    by raw_bean

    I'm quite looking forward to this. I liked Donnie Darko but have steered clear of Domino and Southland Tales. However the combination of a good old fashioned high-concept sci-fi story from the grea\t Richard Matheson, and the enthusiasm and good sense that comes across in this interview I'm getting psyched.

  • June 18, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST

    RIchard Kelly

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    I thought Donnie Darko was a very odd bullseye. The fact that he did a more explicit director's cut and Southland Tales make me suspect it was almost luck that DD came out well.<i>On the other hand, Southland Tales, as bad as it was, was also very memorable. It had a few moments. It was completely fucking bizarre, I'll give it that much anyway.

  • June 18, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST

    English fail

    by raw_bean

    I really should have proof-read and rewritten my entire reply, it looks like the kind of stream-of-conscious nonsense Harry tends to write. Still, I guess my meaning comes across.

  • June 18, 2009, 11:47 a.m. CST

    I had such high hopes for you Richard Kelly

    by mitortilla

    you broke my heart.

  • June 18, 2009, 11:50 a.m. CST


    by Cobbio

    Great interview, Beaks. Thanks for this.<p> I wasn't a big fan of "Southland Tales" but loved "Donnie Darko." Thus I'm very interested to hear what Richard Kelly is up to these days. Unlike some people on this talkback, I really enjoyed hearing about technical aspects of moviemaking. The details ALWAYS matter. A friend of mine delivered copying machines to Kelly's studio as "The Box" was being filmed, and said everyone there was friendly, hard-working, and really into what was going on. Not that other movie sites aren't these things, but he really got a good vibe from Kelly's place. Hopefully this translates on screen.<p> I'm definitely interested.

  • June 18, 2009, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Damn you MPAA

    by TheBaxter

    Damn you MPAA

  • June 18, 2009, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Best explination of how Southland Tales

    by Series7

    Jon Lovitz talking about the movie and how he has no idea what its about, he just signed up because the guy directed Donnie Darko. He didn't even understand his character.

  • June 18, 2009, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Sounds good

    by kwisatzhaderach

    I'm in

  • June 18, 2009, 1:12 p.m. CST

    "They say the road not taken ends in a stairway to heaven...

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    but that doorway was closing in three days and Santoro was determined to find it."--That's an actual line from the Cannes cut of Southland Tales.

  • June 18, 2009, 1:13 p.m. CST

    "He was a pimp. And pimps don't commit suicide."

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    That's a line that shows up TWICE in the ST theatrical cut.

  • June 18, 2009, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Southland Tales

    by Toonol

    Enjoyable movie. Better than most.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:27 p.m. CST


    by mrbeaks

    We get it. You've read the script. Now knock it off with the spoilers.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Won't see it

    by BobParr

    I simply can't watch anything that has Cameron Diaz in it. She's even more annoying than Drew Barrymore and has totally hit the wall. <P> So Kelly is rebooting an old TZ episode and making the lead characters his parents? Those creative juices must really be flowing.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:41 p.m. CST

    hey, wait

    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    let sonicmonkey talk! you NAZI! I have no goddamn cleu what asouthland tales was bout. im saw it, but it was so un-engaging and such utter pretentious shit-i tuned out. So, let him talk, its sorta itneresting!

  • June 18, 2009, 2:44 p.m. CST

    and oh yeah

    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    RICH KELLY....pal? Hey.Donnie Darko..pretty cool movie.Very confusing, but I like most of what you TRIED to do there.Southland Tales? WOW-that was just garbage.nothing redeeming at all, except getting the killer's to loan you that song. This film-it looks interesting-but I WANNA see a trailer.If this film don't fly...just go away sir.Go suck on Frank Marshal''s cock and maybe work with him on his redonk INDY 5 script.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:49 p.m. CST


    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    RICHARD KELLY'S TASTY JELLY. what do you think bout that? I'm telling you Rich, you can make a big couple bucks on that right there. Next time I wake up, hankering for some toast-you think I'm reaching for Smuckers? no man, im reaching for Rich Kelly's tasty jelly.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Oh no, the MPAA would never REQUIRE

    by comedian_x

    anything -- for that would be censorship. No, they just suggest that perhaps maybe the filmmakers should submit their matirials early so they can get a certain rating. Otherwise, they (the MPAA) might have to give their movie an NC-17 which pretty removes the chance of anyone seeing the movie. <p>Sure, non of this is REQUIRED -- except if you want your movie shown in a mainstream theater or a mainstream video rental place -- you must have a rating. Don't play the semantics game Bicycle Sharer; the MPAA claims to just be "guide to parents" and this has been proven to be not the case so many times that they are a joke.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:05 p.m. CST

    I dunno, this sounds interesting to me

    by Gwai Lo

    I actually kind of admired Southland Tales for how much it tried to do. It had some major problems, but you don't see many filmmakers swing for the fences like that coming off something as unanimously loved as Donnie Darko. I didn't think it was horrible, especially compared to all the derivative unoriginal junk that passes for entertainment these days. I watched it twice just to make sure I wasn't way off base. I can definitely understand not liking it, but it's a spectacular failure in the vein of David Lynch's Dune (although not as good) in my opinion, not just your garden variety failure.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:11 p.m. CST


    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    WAS JSUT AWFUL.what he was trying to "do" is stay alive and just make a buck(no problem WITH that).The problem is that I don't think he FULLY thought this out, even with those crappy-ass graphic novels.Everything was so convoluted, and the actors! brrrr.what a bad idea...basting comedians in it.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:16 p.m. CST



    Donnie Darko is pretty good too (though the director's cut shits all over itself in front of everybody like it ain't no thang ('PURGE')). Richard Kelly is where it's at. ST is incredible, no question.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:29 p.m. CST


    by idrinkyourmilkshake


  • June 18, 2009, 3:30 p.m. CST


    by Gwai Lo

    I won't argue with you that ST was convoluted, and that using a cast of mostly comedians was a bad idea. Like I said, the film had its problems. But I don't think he was just trying to make a buck. I think he was probably overly ambitious, and trying to work outside his intellectual comfort zone. It was the type of thing that would have benefited from about ten more drafts to get it to a state that made sense. He had too many ideas swirling around, none of them clear, and the characters, theme and overall story needed to be stripped down and reworked. But there's a difference between a naively ambitious disaster like this, and Meet the Spartans. I just don't think it's fair to condemn the guy for life because of one directorial misstep. Not counting Domino here.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:38 p.m. CST

    The best film review podcast

    by joblessfilmreviews

    For the best movie reviews, who better to ask than to people wihtout jobs who just watch films. Subscribe at itunes and look for "jobless film reviews" or go to

  • June 18, 2009, 3:48 p.m. CST

    gwai lo

    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    very weel written, okay-i agree.But, my problem is i USED to like Richard Kelly.I thought Darko was very cool-and own the collector's edition.I like it.But then S.T. came out-and it all came crashing down. I felt like the "guy with potential" was just another deuche bag with no clue on how to make a proper film. Anywho, I HAVE SINCE PUT SOME Rich Kelly TASTY JELLY(tm) on a piece of toast-and totally calmed the fuck down.

  • June 18, 2009, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Make or Break Time for R. Kelly

    by Rubiks Doob

    If this movie is good then he's maybe got a career. If not, he's another M. Night Schalamghyena...

  • June 18, 2009, 3:54 p.m. CST


    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    I couldnt have said it better.You reading this RICH? Shape up or ship out, you JELLY MAKING MOTEHRFUCKER

  • June 18, 2009, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Diaz doesn't look that good anymore

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    She's been suffering from SEVERE crow's feet for the last three or four years.

  • June 18, 2009, 5:34 p.m. CST

    I read the script for this a year ago.

    by OutlawsDelejos

    Playing it straight my ass, it's all kinds of fucked up.

  • June 18, 2009, 6:15 p.m. CST

    i'm not jumping on the Kelly hatewagon

    by drave117

    I thought Donnie Darko was just as bad as Southland Tales. The main difference is the scale of the crap. Donnie Darko is just a little cat poop in the corner of the bathroom, whereas Southland Tales is more like a steaming elephant mound. They are very similar in quality, but one obviously makes a much bigger impression.

  • June 18, 2009, 6:26 p.m. CST


    by Baryonyx

    Snake would push it real fast, it's the truth.

  • June 18, 2009, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Kelly is a douche because he said "cigarette burns"

    by CerebralAssassin

    Clearly a film noob. Watch some mor Fight Club, fuckface!

  • June 18, 2009, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Just moved to the top of my most-anticipated list...

    by Flames gotta Eat

    for 2009. Wow! Great interview Beaks, I think Kelly comes off great in this and the movie sounds awesome. I just hope it comes out half as good as this interview portends. There are plenty of movies that were researched extremely well like this and came out mundane or even poorly, let's hope this isn't the case. I love the idea of a good ole fashioned thriller without gore or profanity. Drag Me To Hell was too PG-13 for me, I wanted more gore and violence and I didn't find it fun or zany enough to merit the lack of "R" stuff.

  • June 18, 2009, 7:15 p.m. CST

    Good interview

    by Teddy Artery

    I remember looking at stereo images that came directly from NASA back in the 70s from a family friend who had worked on the soil sampling equipment for the Mars Viking lander. Richard Kelly seems like a pretty cool guy, but I'd sure like to see him completely unfettered by budget restrictions and see him go crazy with a project. Maybe he needs a short subject film...

  • June 18, 2009, 8:11 p.m. CST

    press the button like 4 times.

    by ironic_name

  • June 18, 2009, 8:13 p.m. CST

    there's a dick inside!

    by ironic_name

  • June 18, 2009, 8:53 p.m. CST

    Loved Darko, HATED Southland

    by Zeegloo

    I hope to be pleasantly surprised by this one

  • June 18, 2009, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Sarah Michelle Gellar in Southland Tales

    by ShabbyBlue

    It's frustrating that she played a porn star in that film and yet we don't see any hint of her "performances". It's just like Natalie Portman playing a stripper who doesn't show nudity. What a tease :(

  • June 18, 2009, 10:43 p.m. CST


    by ArmandVA

    sounds like someone's got a corn cob jammed squarely up their black box. or maybe that was sarcasm. it's so hard to tell without tone of voice. but, either way, damn, dude, un-clench. that can't be healthy.

  • June 19, 2009, 1:11 a.m. CST

    Please release the score on CD

    by Toilet_Terror

    Please. Not iTunes. CD.

  • June 19, 2009, 2:36 a.m. CST

    I'm sorry man but after Southland Tales

    by drturing

    I will NEVER EVER watch anything by this guy again. I've tried watching it three times. Every single time about 15 minutes in I feel like I'm watching possibly the worst movie ever made, all the more so because it has such high ambition and aspirations but seems like it was made by a 16 year old who is stuck in the 90s and just did shrooms for the first time.

  • June 19, 2009, 2:38 a.m. CST

    Oh yeah and that photo

    by drturing

    looks like the kinda person who would direct Southland Tales.

  • June 19, 2009, 5:39 a.m. CST

    Richard Kelly's Voyage Up His Own Ass

    by reflecto

    He destroyed Donnie Darko with his "this is the REAL plot" 'director's cut,' and Southland Tales is one of the worst, most amateurish pieces of shit I have ever seen. And I saw Howling VII: New Moon Rising.

  • June 19, 2009, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Fuck you Beaks

    by one_guy_from_andromeda

    Here are some Southland Tales spoilers: <p> ...<p> Shit, it was so uninteresting, i cannot remember anything. In the end the rock and sarah michelle gellar die when the zeppelin blows up, because a cartoon character shoots a bazooka at it from a floating ice cream truck or something if i remember correctly. god, i remember the bazooka guy now... such a badly written character... mind boggling. or the "jokes" like "this is a fat woman, she eats a lot of food HAHAHA". what a piece of shit movie. <p> Oh, here's another spoiler for you Beaks:<p> You're an asshole.

  • June 19, 2009, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Great work, Beaks

    by YackBacker

    Thanks for an insightful interview. I give you crap for silly things, but you're the cats pajamas- don't you ever forget that!

  • June 19, 2009, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Why is he making a taut thriller into al

    by drturing

  • June 19, 2009, 10 a.m. CST

    Why is he making a taut thriller into Almost Famous

    by drturing

    No reason for all the personal stuff other than self indulgence

  • June 19, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST


    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    DO the world a favor and shut the fuck up already. Go back o making funny featur-ettes, like Donnie Darko's # 1 fan-THAT shit was great.and DON'T even think about NOT reading this, read it-eat some JELLY(tm)-and learn.

  • June 19, 2009, 12:17 p.m. CST


    by Wee Willie

    this guy's made three films and you're talking to him like he's some old veteran.

  • June 19, 2009, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Got Goose Bumps...


    When I read Arcade Fire is doing the score... Oh man, their song "Wake Up" (as heard in the fantastic trailer for "Where The Wild Things Are") is heart-wrenching...

  • June 19, 2009, 1:51 p.m. CST


    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    fuck this guy..can we interview "PROVEN' directors, like Spike Jonze? where's all the stuff for his forthcoming WHERE THE WILD THNIGS ARE film?

  • June 19, 2009, 3:27 p.m. CST

    i just read a script review

    by drturing

    and you've got to be fucking kidding me. dude it's a 90 minute morality play about tension, not some epic based on Carl Sagan's thoughts after smoking kush

  • June 19, 2009, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Diaz gotta eat, FUCK she needs to eat naow

    by fisheater

  • June 19, 2009, 5:41 p.m. CST

    How is saying that Kelly is ripping of...

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    ?Spoliers? Sartre ?Spoilers? a spoiler? I mean, it's a 60 year old play that Kelly just, literally steals pages from. We all know he makes movies on a template at this point. Is it really that bad to tell you what book you should be reading before seeing/instead of seeing this movie?

  • June 19, 2009, 6:32 p.m. CST

    HATED Donnie Darko

    by Redmond

    Skipped SOUTHLAND TALES because the stink of DARKO still hadn't left my mouth yet. This only sounds interesting because it's based on a Richard Matheson short story, but the "new ideas" mentioned immediately turn me off to it. Some stories are just meant to be, you know, short. Stupid backstories doesn't make it anything more than padding.

  • June 20, 2009, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Motherfuck a DD Director's Cut


    Just adding to the chorus. There's never been a bigger one hit wonder other than the shits that did the Macarena.

  • June 20, 2009, 3:10 a.m. CST

    Change title to Cameron Diaz's Monster Box!!!!!

    by JuanSanchez

  • June 20, 2009, 3:31 a.m. CST


    by TheExterminator

  • June 20, 2009, 4:56 a.m. CST

    Diaz hasn't been hot since the mask.

    by OfficerJunior

    Remember that shit, yeah. Then she lost way too weight. Too fuckin skinny man. Darko is pretty excellent, I like the ambition RK showed in ST more than I actually liked the flick, The rock sucks outloud.

  • June 21, 2009, 9:35 a.m. CST

    I approve the post above me

    by chien_sale

    she should stick to monster movies

  • June 21, 2009, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Kelly & lines in the sand...

    by wacko3205

    Richard Kelly is just one of those directors with a style you either love…or you hate. Period. There’s no happy middle ground with the guy...nor the people who critcize him. Most everything that he’s done (directorially or written) is either shot strangely, cast outside of the box, paced off key, or generally set outside the lines of your average everyday “Joe Blow” movie goer. Basically those lines that most paying customers draw in the sand, Kelly crosses...& then kicks the sand into your face. Personally….I like that. Fact is…most people I know walked out of Donnie Darko because it was just too weird & most people I know did the same for Southland Tales citing that there were too many characters to follow & the mere mention of quantum teleportation coupled with the bulk of SNL's B list players, the Rock, Sean William Scott, Bai Ling, Booger, & an occassional dwarf or porn star thrown in here & there...well it pushed em over that sandy line. While I consider myself to have a little bit wider of a scope of tolerance compared to most movie goers (meaning I can watch & try to give bad movies 5th/6th & 10th chances) I really liked Donnie Darko, appreciated Domino…I actually loved Southland Tales. The roles, the ideas, & the over all scope of what the story was...while it was just to left field for the duration...was a good ole goofy brain bender. That being said…I have been salivating over “the Box” since I heard about it a year ago. Can’t wait! Love the 70's aspects of it & am always willing to give our newer age directors chance after chance after chance.

  • June 22, 2009, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Kelly is a class act.

    by knowthyself

    Love this guy.

  • June 22, 2009, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Southland ahead of it's time?

    by knowthyself

    Its really a film that must be considered out of context. Forget Darko. Twenty years from now depending on how we see Richard Kelly's history as a director Southland Tales could take on a whole new context and meaning.

  • June 22, 2009, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Submitting materials to MPAA

    by RobertBaron

    I would really like to know more about this since I've never heard of it. So the MPAA needs to see production design, props, the script, etc to start making a determination of the rating? Just watching the completed or near complete film isn't enough to make a decision?

  • June 22, 2009, 2:12 p.m. CST


    by stvnhthr

    I love the original short story and I've seen is successfully adapted into a play. I've always wanted to see it done as a movie. I'm officially excited.

  • June 22, 2009, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Can't be any worse than S.Darko

    by prunkhaft

    He really dropped the ball with that one!

  • June 23, 2009, 7:44 a.m. CST

    I was even able to find inner beauty in I Know Who Killed Me

    by smackfu

    and even I thought Southland Tales was an abortion. A late-term abortion. This sounds good though, I'm interested.

  • June 24, 2009, 5:46 p.m. CST

    This should play as a double feature with SNATCH.

    by Serious Black

  • June 28, 2009, 4 p.m. CST

    Was Matheson's story just a ripoff

    by PhilipMarlowe

    Of the play La Barca sin Pescador? It was written by Alejandro Casona in 1945. I read it long before Matheson wrote his. Involved the same button of death but if I recall it ended up as a love story.

  • June 28, 2009, 9:11 p.m. CST

    Kelly is the new Shyamalan

    by ReportAbuse

    And "opening up" a parable-like tale is not to improve it.

  • June 21, 2010, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Richard Kelly

    by musicmam10

    Richard Kelly talks first day of principal photography, the rush of filmmaking, and his favorite director moment!! I love this director!