Anticipating Southland

Marc mentions the website for Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly’s latest film, Southland Tales, due to be released sometime in 2006. Marc notes that the film is set in Los Angeles in the year 2008, with the war in Iraq still ongoing, giving the film an interesting contemporary/political subtext, an aspect of Donnie Darko that I’d argue is often overlooked (in fact, the film’s first line of dialogue is Maggie Gyllenhaal’s intentionally provocative breakfast table comment that she’s “voting for Dukakis”).

But for now, I’m more interested in Marc’s discussion of a planned 6-volume graphic novel series, with each novel exceeding 100 pages, to be released in advance of the film itself. Marc notes: “It should be interesting to see how these books are pushed, given that Kelly is far from a household name and that graphic novels, despite their renewed academic and cultural status, are far from mainstream reading. Regardless, a six-hundred page prequel story for a film is quite unheard of, especially when it is released before any other chapters of the story have been told.”

In a sense, I think it’s an interesting gamble, one that can build onto the cult status of Kelly’s reputation as the director of Donnie Darko (a status that was powerful enough to score a theaterical release of his Darko director’s cut). And as Tim noted in a comment to a recent entry on my blog, the contemporary Hollywood economy may allow for (and even encourage) building on the enthusiasm of a niche audience, creating what might be called a “culture of anticipation” that builds buzz for that film (and I’ll be the first to admit that my blog entries are participating in that buzz).


The website itself is fascinating. This screen capture, with its washed out, off-color, left-right divided American flag recalls the iconic flag paintings produced by Jasper Johns, giving the website itself, at least in my experience of it, a slightly haunted quality.


  1. dvd Said,

    July 28, 2005 @ 2:34 am

    I love that website, and I’ve been looking forward to the film for a long time – I’m glad it’s finally getting off the ground.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen these links, but they’re early stages of additional supplementary material for the film (I assume the storyboards in the first will eventually be replaced with actual footage):

  2. Chuck Said,

    July 28, 2005 @ 9:08 am

    Yes, I found the sites via the main site (I think by choosing “left” or “right” on the image quoted above).

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