The Box director Richard Kelly has played with water imagery in all his scifi films, including Donnie Darko. We caught up with him and asked why all his characters are perpetually wet, and his thoughts on the Donnie Darko sequel.
At the premiere for The Box we stole a few minutes with director Richard Kelly and finally got to the bottom of a lot of questions that have been plaguing us for years, like his constant use of water imagery, what it's like coming back after Southland Tales and what he really thinks about the Darko sequel made without him.
Why are you drawn to science fiction?
I think that science fiction is something that can capture the imagination of any human being, in the way that it lets us speculate and analyze the mysteries of the world. We live in a world that's filled with a lot of mystery. Fundamentally it gets to the heart of why we pay fourteen bucks to sit in a movie theater for two hours with a bunch of strangers. It's to discover new mysteries. And you know, with something like Avatar coming out, it sort of helps me reclaim the childhood sense of discovery I got from Jim Cameron when I saw Alien or when I saw Terminator for the first time, seeing the trailer for that film brings back all of those memories and makes me realize why I got into this business so… I think science fiction is where some of the most exciting stories are told.
Cameron Diaz and James Marsden are seen getting water dumped all over them in this movie, you've used water before as a supernatural element, can you tell us what that's all about?
Well I think sometimes the concept of saltwater coming from the ocean and the ocean being the driving force of the planet and our bodies being made of saltwater almost entirely… there's something fascinating about embracing that, the essence of it as a higher intelligence, a higher technology of some sort and it allows you to portray a higher intelligence in a visual way that provokes a lot of discussion and interpretation for audiences. So that's sort of been the reason behind my thought process. People may not understand that when they first see it but it plants a seed in your mind. It's something that we actually did with Donnie Darko and a little bit in Southland Tales so hopefully people are kind of connecting the dots.
What was it like directing this movie after doing Southland Tales?
It was a pleasure for me to have a simple concept to embrace, where I could still design an elaborate mystery behind it all and to try to design an elababorate roller coaster ride. And also to work with intimate characters and… really it's a three-character melodrama, it's the husband and the wife and the stranger who knocks on their door. And there's something wonderful about that simplicity and also being able to work within the studio system… is such a relief for me. To know that my film is going to get released and here we are, red carpet, and there's people here! So I'm very grateful for that.
One last question, have you seen S. Darko [the sequel to Donnie Darko]?
I have not seen it.
Are you planning to?
No. I kind of... it's not… I didn't have anything to do with it and I just.. kind of want the movie to exist in my heart the way I made it and I just I won't… I don't have any plans to see it.
The Box is theaters November 6th.