In 2006, Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly premiered his second feature film, Southland Tales, at the Cannes Film Festival. The audience did not react warmly to his hugely ambitious movie, and the film was drastically re-cut before hitting theaters in late 2007, when it failed to make much of an impact. But among film fanatics, the movie has been a much-argued-about talking point for more than a decade.

Kelly has only directed one other movie since then (2009’s The Box), but he recently revealed that he and his team have completed a 4K restoration of the infamous Cannes cut of Southland Tales, and that he still intends to direct a Southland Tales prequel which features both animation and live-action. Read his latest update below.

The Film Stage pointed out that yesterday, Kelly live-tweeted his movie as part of a viewing party on the streaming platform MUBI. During that event, he explained that he has completed “an ambitious new script” for a prequel movie that he hopes to direct.

We have completed 4K restorations of both the theatrical and Cannes versions. The 158 minute Cannes cut is rough with many unfinished visual effects. It *will* be released for posterity… but my focus has been on preparing the epic Version 3.0 of #SouthlandTales. #SouthlandNow

— Richard Kelly (@JRichardKelly) April 5, 2020

#SouthlandTales is a six-chapter saga. The existing film covers the second half. I wrote graphic novels with @brettweldele that cover the first three chapters. I have completed an ambitious new script that uses the novels as a blueprint for an ambitious new film. #SouthlandNow

— Richard Kelly (@JRichardKelly) April 5, 2020

My *hope* is to direct a new #SouthlandTales prequel film using a hybrid of animation and live-action. This new film could be released in tandem with an expanded version of the existing film with significant new content. #SouthlandNow

— Richard Kelly (@JRichardKelly) April 5, 2020

If it happens… the animated portion of the new film would cover the 2008 events over the three days beginning on June 30th, when Boxer Santaros wakes up in the Nevada desert w/ amnesia… and then embarks on a journey through Las Vegas before returning to LA. #SouthlandNow

— Richard Kelly (@JRichardKelly) April 5, 2020

The live action sections of the new film would bring to life sequences from THE POWER, the bonkers screenplay within-the-film written by Boxer Santaros and Krysta Now. THE POWER takes place in the year 2024 and has significant importance to the story told in 2008. #SouthlandNow

— Richard Kelly (@JRichardKelly) April 5, 2020

The evolution of VFX and animation techniques will *hopefully* allow the complete vision of #SouthlandTales to see the light of day. The script is ready and the assets secured. Thank you to everyone who has supported this film – it will always be my most beloved. #SouthlandNow

— Richard Kelly (@JRichardKelly) April 5, 2020

Southland Tales defies easy description, but it is easy to understand why its blend of time travel, satire, political commentary went over many people’s heads upon its release, including mine – I fully admit to not “getting” this movie when I saw it around 2008 or so, but these new comments have me curious about rewatching it.

While it doesn’t sound like this is a done deal quite yet, this isn’t the first time Kelly has talked about expanding the story he began all those years ago. In 2010, he told Kevin Smith on a podcast that he had plans to use animation and live-action to “tell the entire Southland Tales story over six chapters because I think it would make a lot more sense to people and I think people would reassess the entire film and what it is.”

“When you see the movie, you see that Dwayne Johnson is reading a script called ‘The Power,’ and there is actually excerpts of the script in the graphic novel. And you realize what the origin of the script is really all about, it’s this crazy analysis of the book of revelations. I’ve actually, to be honest, I’ve taken the graphic novels and in my spare time, I’ve written a screenplay based on the three graphic novels, which I know sounds a little confusing. Basically, I took the three graphic novels after having a few years away from them, and I streamlined them — I wrote a 120-page screenplay for if I ever make an animated film out of the graphic novels. And I would basically handle it as whenever Boxer [Santaros] is reading the screenplay, you go into his mind and you see the actors portraying the ridiculousness of what happens in that screenplay — with the baby, the farting and the earthquakes. The insanity of the screenplay within the graphic novel. There is a very specific plan I have to do that, if that day ever arrives when I can figure out how to bring it all together and make it visual.”

Those comments were from 2010, but Kelly’s recent tweets make it seem like he has now completed a whole new draft of the script. Here’s a clip of Johnson’s Boxer Santaros explaining the premise of The Power, the movie-within-the-movie that Kelly plans to visualize:

A singularly satirical vision of the Los Angeles of then-near future. Starring @TheRock + @jtimberlake!

— MUBI (@mubi) April 6, 2020

The Film Stage also points out that last year, Kelly showed the Cannes cut of Southland Tales at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and he intimated that he was having discussions with an unnamed studio to potentially be the home for his vision:

“I still want to finish it, and there is a new studio in place to finally do a new, hopefully expanded and complete version of the film. There are animation techniques, a lot of new visual effects technology, and we’re in the age of the streamers. There’s new ways to digest narrative.”

Could MUBI be the company he’s referring to? It’s unclear if they have the budget necessary to fund this project, but either way, it seems like some momentum is building for this. And while I wait for his finished version to hopefully come out one day, I’m going to be hunting down those graphic novels, rewatching the theatrical version, and reading yesterday’s tweets to get even more insight into this crazy-ass movie.

The post ‘Southland Tales’ Prequel in the Works from Richard Kelly, Would Utilize Both Live-Action and Animation appeared first on /Film.