where is the cast of 'donnie darko' now?

With a sequel to the 2001 time traveling odyssey just announced, we jump through the space-time continuum to find out where the original cast is now, 16 years later — from the siblings Gyllenhaal to Ashley Tisdale (seriously).

by Tish Weinstock
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Feb 2 2017, 4:43pm

We've been watching you. Come closer. Ok, fine, we've been re-watching Donnie Darko, but still, come closer, because in 28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds... the world will end, again. Well, according to director Richard Kelly. Sixteen years later, the cult indie classic is getting a "much bigger and more ambitious" sequel. To celebrate, we've jumped back into the space-time continuum to check up on our real (and imaginary) friends and find out where the core members of the original cast are now.

Jake Gyllenhaal aka Donnie Darko
I don't know about you, but the first time I laid eyes on Jake Gyllenhaal as the angst-ridden Donnie Darko, I knew I had to have him. Sixteen years later, that still hasn't happened. Weirdly, Taylor Swift got there first. But anyway, it's fine, because Jake's been a busy boy since putting on that stupid man suit. He's landed lead roles in movies like Jarhead, Zodiac, Nightcrawler, Southpaw, Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals, Brokeback Mountain — who didn't shed a tear when his brooding cowboy Jack Twist was brutally beaten to a pulp? In fact, he's died a few times on screen, and it's been pretty devastating. But you already know all this; it's Jake Gyllenhaal ffs. The guy has won an Oscar, he's Hollywood royalty.

Maggie Gyllenhaal aka Elizabeth Darko
If Jake wasn't in the picture, then big sister Maggie would obviously be our favorite of the Gyllenhaal clan. I mean she's as cool as they come, and she's married to Stephen Sarsgaard, who, let's face it, is pretty hot. Who else could pull off Elizabeth Darko's immortal line, "Go suck a fuck"? To which her onscreen and IRL brother #meta retorts, "Oh, please, tell me, Elizabeth, how exactly does one suck a fuck?" Ahh, the joys of sibling rivalry. It doesn't get much punchier, does it? But what else has the Magster been up to? Well, lets see: she blew our minds as Lee Solloway in BDSM-in-the-workplace film, Secretary. She also starred as Batman's leading lady in The Dark Knight, only to be killed later on by the Joker. There was also Mona Lisa Smile, Stranger Than Fiction, and, of course, Paris je t'aime, which was a whole lot better than its New York equivalent. This year you can see her starring opposite James Franco in new TV drama, The Deuce, about porn and prostitution in 1970s New York. Nice.

Jena Malone aka Gretchen Ross
And none for Gretchen Wiener. Ok, fine, different movie. But this Gretchen… I mean what a drip. "Some people are just born with tragedy in their blood," oh please. Actress Jena Malone on the other hand is a total rock star. She totally betrayed her family when she married George Wickham in one of the many versions of Pride and Prejudice, kicked ass as Johanna Mason from District 7 in the Hunger Games trilogy (there were four, but who's counting?), and then there was Neon Dreams, in which she played Ruby — the mortuary make-up artist with necrophiliac tendencies. Actually, let's just leave that one there. She also re-united with her Donnie Darko co-star in Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals, in which she perfected the art bitch stereotype to a tee.

James Duval aka Frank
Talk to Frank, or rather Frank will talk to you. But be warned, if you're caught chin wagging about time travel with an imaginary dude in a monster bunny suit, people may think you're a bit odd. It also means that your world is about to end. Speaking of the world ending, you may recognize James Duval, the man behind the rabbit mask, from Greg Araki's iconic coming of age trilogy Teen Apocalypse, in which he played a variety of fucked-up characters. Now, according to IMDb, James has been in multiple films every year since he appeared in Donnie Darko. But you know what? Sometimes the internet lies, cos I sure haven't seen him in anything.

Drew Barrymore aka Karen Pomeroy
From childhood star to queen of the indie screen, Donnie Darko's gentle high school teacher Karen Pomeroy is now a cannibalistic house wife in Netflix show Santa Clarita Diet, Drew Barrymore has had more lives than a housecat. Long may she continue.

Patrick Swayze aka Jim Cunningham
Patrick Swayze, now there is an icon. He graced our screens as the pedophile promotional speaker Jim Cunningham in Donnie Darko, and sadly passed away in 2009. He had a long and colorful career in cinema, but, like with his character in Ghost, we know he's here in spirit.

Seth Rogen aka Ricky Danforth
Lol, Seth Rogen played high school dickwad Ricky Danforth. Feel old yet? I sure do.

Noah Wyle aka Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff
Noah Wyle, the sweet, nerdy Professor who no one could look at without thinking of Dr. John Carter, the dreamy doctor he played for over a decade in iconic series E.R. He was also in the Librarian franchise. Still not quite sure what that was all about but it clearly had a cult following as they made three of them, and a TV spinoff. Paging Dr. Carter.

Ashley Tisdale aka Kim
Before Donnie and Jim Cunningham square off about who is a prisoner of fear and who is the fucking antichrist, tiny Ashley Tisdale makes a short but enduring appearance as Kim, an innocent middle schooler voicing her concerns about her sister's eating habits before the entire student body. She, of course, has since been cemented in the Disney Channel canon for her roles as Maddie on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and the memorable Sharpay Evans in High School Musical.

Credits


Text Tish Weinstock