One Of Donnie Darko’s Biggest Challenges Was Landing The Rights To Tears For Fears

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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