Jake Gyllenhaal

Donnie Darko

Interviewed by David Michael

"Donnie Darko" is considered a cult film in the US, but were you disappointed in terms of your career that it didn't do better at the American box office?

The truth is most of the films that make a lot of money no one remembers, and I'm not interested in making films that no one remembers. Whether it means they hated it so much they'll never forget it, or if it means they loved it so much that they won't. I'm less interested also in how it affects a career. The advice I've been given by a lot of people is: don't jump in too fast, do the things that you care about, and see what happens then.

As well as appearing in the film, Drew Barrymore is credited as a producer. How hands-on was she as a producer?

Drew's name and who she is really had a big influence on getting the movie made. After that, I think she had a lot of faith in Richard Kelly directing and really let him do what he needed to do. So in terms of being a producer, her team [Flower Films] was definitely producing the film and they were there all the time, but creatively it's Richard's movie.

Did you immerse yourself in 80s culture for the film?

In terms of style and all that, I went down to the library and looked at all these magazines and read articles about the time. There's not that much you can do with something that is so near. There are words that were different, like people used to use "rad" a lot more!

You had your first theatre role earlier this year with the West End production of "This is Our Youth". What was your motivation for doing that?

I'd just worked with Dustin Hoffman [on "Moonlight Mile"], and he told me I needed to do theatre. He said: "You're pretty good, but you've gotta get up on the boards, it's a real testing ground." The play was really the end of a series of 'teenager in transition' roles I had in "Donnie Darko", "The Good Girl", and "Lovely & Amazing". It culminates the end of a period of my life for me.

"Donnie Darko" opens in UK cinemas on Friday 25th October 2002.