Jena Malone: The 'Donnie Darko' Star Today

Jena Malone 'Donnie Darko'
November 21, 2020 - 14:24 / Anna Valenzuela Rosas

Jena Malone has an impressive career under her belt already at such a young age. The Donnie Darko star is a tough artist who fought for her career, even emancipating herself at age 15! Meet the Donnie Darko star, Jena Malone.

Jena Malone is an incredible actress who has amassed countless awards and accolades for her work. Even at her young age, the actress has achieved what many others don't in a lifetime. Meet Donnie Darko's, Jena Malone!

Jena Malone's Child Stardom

Jena was born November 21st, 1984 in Sparks, Nevada to her parents Deborah Malone and Edward Berge. According to Jena, she was conceived during a one-night stand while her father was married to another woman. 

Jena told Entertainment Tonight that she was primarily raised by her mom Deb and her mom's girlfriend, "They were lovers. I had two moms, and it was awesome. Double the pleasure! The more love you have as a child, the better."

Her family was very poor and she lived in 27 different places by the time she was nine! "We were just so poor. We'd hop out of apartments, lose jobs, find a cheaper place, get kicked out, live in cars, and live in hotels. It was glorious."

Jena excelled in acting from a young age so much so that she convinced her mother to allow them to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood. She made big waves right away, earning nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, Independent Spirit Awards, and a Golden Globe for her work in Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) and Hope (1997)

Jena Malone in 'Donnie Darko'.

She won a Saturn Award for her portrayal in Robert Zemeckis's film Contact where she played Jodie Foster's character as a child. Her impressive scene running toward a mirror is shown in film schools everywhere. 

Jena Malone's Emancipation

Jena went on to star in Stepmom (1998) alongside Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts before Jena filed to have herself legally emancipated in 1999. Sadly, her mother had been spending all of Jena's earnings including $280,000 from her trust account, causing Jena to owe tens of thousands in back taxes, and draining her college fund. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, Deb Malone had been "squandering more than $1 million." 14-year-old Jena did not want her mother controlling and mismanaging her earnings anymore so Deb had threatened to move Jena "against her will, to a tiny apartment in Las Vegas--a sure career killer." 

Jake Gyllenhaal and Jena Malone in 'Donnie Darko'.

The courts granted Jena emancipation at age 15 and her career went on to skyrocket. Variety described the actress's work with praise, saying, "Jena Malone proves conclusively that she can carry a movie."

Jena went on to star as "Gretchen Ross", Jake Gyllenhaal's character's romantic interest in the twisted psychological thriller Donnie Darko. She starred in countless hits like Pride and Prejudice, Into the Wild, and Sucker Punch. She also became a dedicated musician, forming the group Jena Malone and the Bloodstains. 

Jena Malone's Career 

The ever dedicated performer also worked on Broadway in the Tony-Award winning play, Doubt. She went on to portray "Johanna Mason" in the box office hit series The Hunger Games and as a former heroin addict in Paul Thomas Andersons Inherent Vice

Jena Malone and Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay'.

She continues to work in both mainstream and independent productions, most recently she has starred in the Amazon series Goliath as "Samantha Margolis" and as Angie Bowie, David Bowie's first wife in the biopic Stardust

Jena is now more than anything, a proud mom herself. She and her photographer boyfriend Ethan DeLorenzo had a son Ode Mountain in 2016. While she and De Lorenzo ended their relationship, she continues to be a dedicated mom and a political activist in hopes of building a better world for her boy.

Donnie Darko's Jena Malone is a talented force to be reckoned with and whatever she has her hand in, it is bound to be incredible.