‘Donnie Darko’ Director Making Thriller ‘Corpus Christi’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 24th, 2013 at 10:24 am,

Richard Kelly has made a career out of dealing with sci-fi or metaphysical elements in such films as Donnie Darko, Southland Tales and most recently The Box. But Kelly appears to be changing things up a bit for his next film, a contemporary thriller entitled Corpus Christi.

Variety is reporting that Kelly will both write and direct Corpus Christi (Latin for “Body of Christ” and the name of a Western Catholic feast), which is described as a more straightforward narrative than what he’s used to. The film deals with a very timely subject – the Iraq war, or at least the consequences of it when it comes to the soldiers themselves. Here is Variety’s plot description:

Texas-set story concerns an unstable Iraq war veteran who forges a strange friendship with his boss, a wealthy and politically ambitious owner of a supermarket chain.

How exactly the film is a “contemporary thriller” isn’t really clear from that plot description but I imagine the proof will be in the pudding. Kelly will be producing the film alongside Sean McKittrick through their Darko Entertainment company. Also producing is fellow director Eli Roth, whom Kelly has known since Roth made Cabin Fever.

Casting for Corpus Christi is already underway but no names are mentioned as of yet – announcements are expected by the end of March. Despite having made what most would call “weird” films, Kelly is no stranger to casting famous faces. Although it was before he became really famous, Donnie Darko starred Jake Gyllenhaal; Southland Tales starred the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Sarah Michelle Gellar; and The Box starred A-lister Cameron Diaz and veteran actor Frank Langella.

Can we expect Corpus Christi to follow suit with famous actors? Or will Kelly cast unknowns to increase the realism and believability? I would love to see the latter but since this is described as a more straightforward film for the director, chances are we’ll be seeing the cast littered with known actors.

When Kelly made Donnie Darko a lot of people expected him to be one of the great directors of this young 21st Century, but he has so far not been able to reach the critical success of his debut feature. Southland Tales was too far wrapped up in its own weirdness to appeal to most people (I personally really dug it) and although it was his most financially successful film to date ($33 million at the worldwide box office), The Box still didn’t reach Darko‘s level of quality.

I’ll be interested to see how Kelly does with a film that’s more straightforward than what he’s used to (although he did write the slightly more conventional crime thriller Domino back in 2005), but that’s not to say some of his trademark weird elements won’t be thrown into the mix. Donnie Darko is one of my all-time favorite movies so naturally I’m interested in whatever Kelly puts out next.

The plan is to start shooting Corpus Christi this July with a release date TBA.

Source: Variety

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  1. Oh look, ANOTHER movie that show cases a disturbed Iraqi War veteran who will no doubt be the bad guy. Of course the news is filled with all the Disturbed Iraq Vets coming back and causing problems…….oh wait that isn’t actually happening except in Hollywood land.

    How about Hollywood make ONE positive movie about not only the war in Iraq but the troops that fought and still serve there. I guess there are no good stories available. /sarc

    • Agreed. Distasteful, insulting, anti-war vet propaganda.

  2. Ah the good old ‘unstable Iraq War vet’ meme. Man, I’d really like to meet one of these people, it’d be like spotting a unicorn or something. All the ones I know came back from war and weren’t on the brink of a shooting rampage. Go figure.

    • Yes, that meme is closely followed by the “strange, repressed, evil Christian” meme.


  3. There hasn’t been a good war movie since BlackHawk Down. The Iraq and Afghan war is an untapped source of genuine and no holdsbarred stories. Some brutal but honest, none of this “psyco Iraq Vet who wants to kill everyone”. I just finished up a great book called House to House by Dave Bellavia, now thats a story.

  4. Mental illness is an awful thing it can happen to anyone, you don’t have to go to war to experience it, but i Think its very important to highlight the problem in a fair way. If Hollywood could do more positive films on mental health like a beautiful mind it would be worth it. If they could write a script that shows how inhuman people are to those suffering with mental health that would be good, and then also how people who have mental health problems can become well and contribute greatly to society. There has been success stories about ordinary folk who have over come the odds of mental health and live their lives giving testimony. There is a great metal health organisation called Grow its been 51 years,its 12 step, and over the past many years i have seen some of the most bravest and honest people become shining lights to others with mental health. it has a website check it out if you are worried about anyone you know who has mental health problems.. its at http://www.grow.ie I hope screen rant does not mind me posting this i just feel its very important to take this opertunity in relation to the film topic, to mention this,, all the best Paddy

  5. Isn’t that what the second donnie darko was about?