The leading actress of the Donnie Darko sequel has defended its director in the face of criticism.

In 2001, Donnie Darko launched the careers of leading man Jake Gyllenhaal and writer/director Richard Kelly, with audiences and critics alike stunned by its innovative look at teenage anxiety and hallucination.

But when sequel S Darko was announced, fans and Kelly reacted angrily, questioning why the 2001 film needed a follow-up.

Kelly disowned the project, writing on his blog: "I haven't read this script. I have absolutely no involvement with this production, nor will I ever be involved.

"I have no control over the rights from our original film, and neither I nor my producing partner Sean McKittrick stands to make any money from this film."

But Step Up 2 The Streets star Briana Evigan, who stars as Samantha Darko, has defended the sequel, saying: "Chris Fisher is the coolest director."

The film begins seven years after the events of the first film and sees Samantha Darko - played by Daveigh Chase in the original - and a friend troubled by visions while on a roadtrip.

"This [film] is so crazy. It's basically about going back in time and changing something," Evigan told MTV.

"[My character] ends up switching a moment in time to take her life - [to help] somebody else, her best friend. It goes into all different dimensions, but it's really about turning something around for somebody else, and being able to go back and have another chance."

"We just come back [in time] and change what happened in the first one," she added.

S Darko is currently filming in Utah ahead of a 2009 release.

13/06/2008 10:14:38