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Recasting Donnie Darko If It Was Made Today | Screen Rant

For the low budget that Donnie Darko had, and the fact that it was originally planned to be a direct-to-TV movie, the film sported a surprisingly great cast. Between rom-com star at the time Drew Barrymore and Hollywood heartthrob Patrick Swayze, along with newcomers Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, their roles in the sci-fi cult classic have become iconic.

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However, if Donnie Darko was made today, there could be a just as great cast, if not better. As was the case with the original movie, as many of the characters are high schoolers, it'd be full of 20-somethings who look much younger than their ages but still have incredible acting skills.

Though Donnie Darko was a box office bomb, it was lucky it even made it to movie theatres, as it was Drew Barrymore's production company, Flower Films, that gave it a theatrical release. But it wasn't just a production role Barrymore had with the movie, as she also played Donnie's School teacher, Karen. The character is like many typical teachers found in schools, as she could easily lose her temper, but she was also very empathetic.

Rosario Dawson might not be at the same level of fame that Barrymore was, but it's a small role, and Dawson has shown how much of a badass she can be in The Mandalorian. Not only that but she has shown a great level of empathy in the Netflix Marvel shows, such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones, as Claire Temple.

Some Redditors think Donnie Darko is a Matrix prequel, but that isn't why Carrie-Anne Moss would be great as Rose, Donnie's mother. The actor always plays distant characters, whether it's as Trinity in The Matrix or as Natalie in Christopher Nolan's Memento, but she can also be caring too.

That's exactly how Mary McDonnell played Donnie's mother, as she cared for the titular character, but she was still somewhat reserved and clearly struggled with him being a rebellious child. Moss also has a surprising resemblance to the actor who would be recast as Donnie, making the mother-son connection in the movie more believable.

There are certain times in the movie where Eddie clearly cares for his family, but for the most part, he's a typical 80s dad. He's often found sitting in front of the TV, complaining about politics, and stuffing his face with food. Not only that, but he often undermines Rose and finds his kids' arguing hilarious.

Nobody is better suited for Eddie than George Clooney. Not only does the actor look a lot like Holmes Osborne, who played the character in the original, but it's easy to Clooney yelling about Michael Dukakis as an 80s dad. Most of Clooney's characters also carry that witty sense of humor too.

Kitty Farmer is surely one of the most hated characters there is. She's the ultimate Karen, as she complains about almost everything in the most grating voice possible. As stunt casting is becoming more and more popular, who else would be better for the role than Susie Essman?

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The actor already essentially plays the same character in Curb Your Enthusiasm, only in a much more hilarious way and with more vulgarity. It'd be great to see the Essman outside of the HBO show, and it'd be especially hilarious to watch her try to explain Kitty's concept of fear and love to a classroom full of teenagers.

As Elizabeth, Donnie's sister, is played by Jake Gyllenhaal's real-life sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, it'd be hard to replicate the on-screen connection of the original movie. However, Chloe Grace Moretz looks the part, and she can put forward that same brazen attitude Elizabeth has towards certain people.

Even when she played Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass at 12 years old, Moretz was hilariously delivering vulgar lines and calling enemies the C-word. And one of the many classic scenes in Donnie Darko is when she and Donnie are sitting at the dinner table hurling insults at each other. It's one of the most intense dinner table scenes, but one of the funniest too, as Elizabeth tells Donnie to "go suck a f***," and nobody could deliver that better than Moretz.

Frank is an iconic movie bunny and the costume has become iconic, but the man under the mask doesn't get all that much screen time. Frank has a huge presence, but when the bunny is on screen, even his voice is distorted, so on the face of it, the actor portraying him doesn't seem all that important.

But the role is still pivotal, as the one major scene where Frank the human has dialogue is after he runs over Gretchen in a drunk driving incident. Donald Glover has always been a great comedy actor, but he doesn't get enough credit for his dramatic acting when scenes in shows like Community and Atlanta require it. Though it's just two scenes, with the other being when he takes off his mask in the movie theatre, Glover would knock it out of the park as Frank.

Jim Cunningham is one of the strangest characters in a movie full of them. On the face of it, he's charismatic and charms the socks off anyone he comes into contact with, but Donnie uncovers that Jim is actually a pedophile. It was completely against type for Patrick Swayze, who tended to be a romantic lead or an action hero in movies at the time, and that's why Brad Pitt could carry the torch.

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There's no denying that Swayze is one of the most attractive men in Hollywood, and he has always had some kind of romantic arc in most of his movies. That's why he could perfectly portray the charismatic side of Cunningham, and subvert expectations when the truth comes out.

Though director Richard Kelly wants to make a sequel, there already was S. Darko, an unofficial sequel that focused on Donnie's younger sister. However, that movie was negatively received by critics and hated by fans of the first movie. Part of the problem was that none of the original characters returned.

Gretchen could have easily have been in the movie, especially because the character was fairly underwritten, as all she did was worship Donnie. Not only could Emma Watson be great in the role, but it could be expanded so that she plays a more three-dimensional character too.

Donnie Darko could have been a very different movie, as Jason Schwartzman almost played Donnie, but Jake Gyllenhaal made it his own, and he's almost irreplaceable. But given Timothee Chalamet's current reign in Hollywood, he could give Gyllenhaal's performance a run for its money.

Between his lead role in Dune as a quiet hero and in Call Me By Your Name as a lost-in-the-world teen, nobody is better suited for the lead role than Chalamet. He looks the part and few other actors of his age can be as compelling or can deliver lines as well as he can.

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