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Sarah Michelle Gellar - "Southland Tales" Movie - Sony travels to Kelly’s "Southland"

Borys Kit

Thursday 29 June 2006, by Webmaster

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Donnie Darko" writer-director Richard Kelly’s "Southland Tales," which ran into a critical buzzsaw when it debuted at May’s Festival de Cannes, will be released domestically by Sony Pictures.

Set in a postapocalyptic Los Angeles circa 2008, "Southland" stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Seann William Scott.

Sony Home Entertainment has picked up the film for theatrical and home entertainment distribution, though it hasn’t been decided which Sony label will handle the theatrical release.

"(Richard) is going to complete his edit, and when we see his cut, we’ll figure out the distribution plan," SHE president Ben Feingold said. "But it will be theatrical."

The studio is providing suggestions to Kelly, but "it’s his movie," Feingold said. "We’ll have a point of view, but people like (Kelly’s) sensibility."

According to the producers, the film fielded multiple offers in Cannes, though Sony execs didn’t see the movie until after the festival. Producer Sean McKittrick said Kelly took the 160-minute "Southland" to Cannes as an unfinished film. "We’re excited to be able to finish it properly," McKittrick said.

The filmmakers weren’t surprised by the harsh reaction the movie received at Cannes, McKittrick said. "A lot of it was expected, to be honest," he said. "It is a very difficult film, and it’s made to push buttons. We didn’t expect some reviews to be so personal, but we didn’t show it to the audience we made it for." Added producer Matthew Rhodes, "For us, Cannes was the greatest launching pad in the world to sell the domestic rights on this movie. And it was a great success for us as producers."

Kelly’s fanbase of sci-fi and pop culture enthusiasts made his "Donnie Darko" a cult hit on DVD. Three graphic novels that serve as prequels to the film will be released this summer. The first one hit shelves Wednesday.