Mark Wahlberg is an incredibly well-established actor. The American actor first rose to fame back in 1997 for his role as Dirk Diggler in the movie Boogie Nights. Wahlberg has won a number of awards throughout his career including 9 Primetime Emmy awards and 3 Golden Globe awards. He has also been nominated for two Academy Awards.
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According to sources, Mark Wahlberg was offered the role of Donnie Darko in the movie of the same name. However, Wahlberg put forth a strange condition that made the director choose a 19-year-old, Jake Gyllenhaal instead.
Richard Kelly revealed that he had other stars in mind for Donnie Darko before he chose Jake Gyllenhaal
Although Jake Gyllenhaal was eventually chosen to play the role of Donnie Darko, the director of the movie, Richard Kelly once revealed in an interview that he initially had other stars in mind for the titular character. According to Kelly, he also considered bit older stars like Vince Vaughn and Mark Wahlberg to play the role of the high school student.
Richard Kelly said,
“We originally had Jason Schwartzman as Donnie, but he had other commitments. We met with Vince Vaughn four times, but he wasn’t comfortable playing 16. Mark Wahlberg was in the running, too. But Jake Gyllenhaal had just starred in October Sky and carried the whole movie. Though not a household name, he clearly had talent.”
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It seems like Kelly did not reveal the reason why Wahlberg did not get the role of Darko on purpose because if the sources are true it sure as hell was a weird one.
Mark Wahlberg’s weird condition to play Donnie Darko
According to sources, Mark Wahlberg allegedly put a non-negotiable condition in front of Kelly if he wanted to him as the lead actor in Donnie Darko. The Italian Job actor allegedly wanted to play the lead character with a lisp. Even if we ignore the fact that Wahlberg was 29 years old at that point and was willing to play a high school character. To play a character as interesting as Donnie Darko with a lisp would definitely have ruined the movie. It is a good thing that Kelly eventually chose Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role instead.
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Although the movie did not earn much at its initial release due to the bad timing of the release. Donnie Darko went on to gross almost $7.5 million globally after its reissues.
Donnie Darko is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Source: The Guardian and What Culture