The soundtrack to "Donnie Darko" is among my all-time favorite movie soundtracks, and I'm surely not alone in this. Not only is the score by Michael Andrews hauntingly beautiful, but the licensed songs played throughout are New Wave gems. Seriously, what other movie soundtrack has The Church, Oingo Boingo, and Joy Division on it?

However, the most memorable inclusion on the "Donnie Darko" soundtrack had to be not one, but two songs from English pop duo Tears for Fears — one was the famous Andrews and Gary Jules cover of "Mad World," while the other was the studio version of "Head Over Heels." It's hard to separate either song from the film anymore, and the way they are both integrated into the film shows how carefully constructed each element of Richard Kelly's movie is.

That being said, both the "Mad World" cover and "Head Over Heels" could have easily been scrapped due to uncertainties around licensing. According to The Ringer's oral history of "Donnie Darko," the montage set to "Head Over Heels" was scripted and choreographed before they even got clearance to use the song. Line producer Thomas Hayslip even called it one of the film's biggest challenges, which is really saying something!

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Despite not having the rights to the song just yet, Kelly persisted. He shot the famous school introduction scene, which gave us glimpses into the personalities we'd loosely follow throughout the film, as if "Head Over Heels" was locked. However, not everyone was entirely on board with the idea.

"Tom Hayslip wasn't quite sure that it was a good idea for us to be basically shooting a music video with no dialogue to a song that we weren't even sure we were going to be able to afford," the director said.

So, how exactly did they end up getting the rights to "Head Over Heels" and permission to cover "Mad World?" Tears for Fears co-founder Curt Smith also spoke to The Ringer for its oral history, where he revealed that the band granted the clearances from an important cast member.

"If I remember correctly," he said, "it was actually a personal request from Drew Barrymore."

Can you even imagine that school arrival scene had it not been for Barrymore? As mentioned previously, the song is integrated extremely well into the scene, effectively setting the tone for the type of environment Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) loathes. Having any other song playing likely wouldn't have made a similar impact, proving just how powerful a well-timed and executed needle drop can be.

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The post One Of Donnie Darko's Biggest Challenges Was Landing The Rights To Tears For Fears appeared first on /Film.