The Original ‘Holes’ Screenplay Was by the Donnie Darko Writer and It Was Insanely Dark

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the ever-popular Louis Sachar novel, Holes, along with the 2003 Disney feature film starring the one and only Shia LaBeouf.




The movie was quirky, heartbreaking, heartwarming, thrilling, and all around just great. I mean, let’s be real, who doesn’t love Holes? The cast was diverse, offbeat, and resilient; from Kissin’ Kate Barlow, Zero (of whom I promptly printed out a photo, and hung it to the inside of my fourth grade locker), Stanley Yelnats, Madame Zeroni, and even the villainous counselors, The Warden and Mr. Sir.


The movie was an instant classic, and still remains so today. And, we all know that the movie was based on the equally charming novel but, what you may not be aware of is that the movie as we know it isn’t at all what the original screenplay set out to be.


In fact, before selling the rights of Holes over to Disney and eventually having the author of the book, Louis Sachar, write the screenplay, the script was originally sold to Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) who wrote something entirely darker.


Holes original script

Image via Metafilter


And, man oh man, is this script umm…different than the Disney one we’ve all grown so accustomed to. Even Kelly knew he was doing something wildly different than what the production team would want:


I was very naïve. And I was convinced that I could convince them that this was the cooler version of the movie. And they were just like, ‘No, we want to make a PG-rated pretty faithful adaptation of this best-selling book. We have Andrew Davis directing. You’re insane. Please sign this contract. We’re not going to pay you any more money. We respect you. We like you. But we’re moving on in a different direction.’


The script is this dystopian, post-nuclear-war, R-rated thriller set in a world where Big Brother is always watching. There are no yellow spotted lizards, there’s no Kissin’ Kate (what? How?), and The Warden is a totalitarian man.


Still, despite being different and lacking a lot of the heart of the actual Holes, this script stands out in a way completely it’s own. It highlights the inefficiency of our justice system, along with the systemic racial oppression it continually enforces. It’s futuristic, unusual, insanely dark, and political in the most important ways.


Holes original script

Image via Metafilter


Honestly, this unusual and previously rejected screenplay feels all-too-relevant as to what’s going on politically in our world today. Who knows, maybe Richard Kelly will one day revisit this script and give us all a new dystopian flick to obsess over?


Read the entire script here!



Featured Image via Sky