Salton Sea, The : Production Notes

Salton Sea, The (2001) - main synopsis imageIn the Imperial Valley of Southern California there is a little known body of water 226 feet below sea level, one of the lowest points in the United States. As there is no outlet from this sea, water is being removed only by evaporation, which results in a salinity level more than 25 percent higher than the Pacific Ocean. There is an eerie stillness to this vast sea, and a peculiar density to the water. This lake is the Salton Sea.

Set against this remote and mysterious landscape, an unexpected and brutal crime leaves an innocent woman, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, dead at the hands of masked gunmen. Her husband's life is left in ruins, his every waking moment haunted by the recurring imagery of the murder he witnessed, but was powerless to prevent. He is alive, but lifeless in his despair. "The Salton Sea" is a character-driven crime thriller about an unlikely hero entangled in a web of deceit and treachery. Full of unexpected twists and turns, this is a compelling and emotionally-charged story about loss and recovery set to the lonely resonant tones of jazz great Miles Davis' horn.

Danny Parker (VAL KILMER) is a man in search of redemption, consumed by a sense of loneliness and alienation. Following the death of his wife (CHANDRA WEST), he is set adrift in a seedy underworld inhabited by an eclectic, and often comical, cast of characters united principally by their choice of drug: crystal methamphetamine. An accomplished jazz musician, Danny is now a low-life "tweaker" in Los Angeles who leads us through a frenzied maze, one from which he must emerge before his tenuous grip on reality snaps for good.

In a bold attempt Danny secretly hatches a plan to serve as middle-man in a lucrative drug deal. With the help of his friend Jimmy "The Finn" (Peter Sarsgaard), Danny is introduced to Pooh-Bear (Vincent D'Onofrio), a deranged methamphetamine baron with a penchant for sadistic recreational games, who seals the deal. But in this mad world, nothing is as it seems and no one is who he or she appears to be.

While making this perilous journey through the underbelly of Los Angeles, however, Danny reconnects with a tenderness long thought dead as he reaches out to help his troubled and vulnerable neighbor, Colette (Deborah Kara Unger).

Joining the production's cast are Anthony La Paglia and Doug Hutchison who portray narcotics agents Garcetti and Morgan respectively; Adam Goldberg as 'Kujo,' a speed freak; Luis Guzman, as 'Quincy,' Colette's violent boyfriend; rock veteran Meat Loaf makes an appearance as 'Bo,' a shady druggie; Glenn Plummer as 'Bobby,' a drug dealer; in his acting debut Josh Todd, lead singer of the band Buckcherry, as 'Big Bill,' one of Pooh-Bear's sidekicks; Danny Trejo as 'Little Bill,' a member of Pooh-Bear's posse and Tony Award-winning B. D. Wong as 'Bubba,' a cowboy with crystal meth connections.

Castle Rock Entertainment presents A Darkwoods/Humble Journey Films Production, "The Salton Sea," directed by D. J. Caruso (HBO's "Black Cat Run") from a screenplay by Tony Gayton ("Murder by Numbers"). The film is produced by Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Frank Darabont ("The Majestic," "The Green Mile," "The Shawshank Redemption") along with Eriq La Salle ("E.R."), Ken Aguado ("Ticker") and Butch Robinson ("The Original Kings of Comedy"). The film is executive produced by Jim Behnke ("The Majestic," "Zero Effect").

The behind-the-scenes team is led by director of photography Amir Mokri ("Coyote Ugly"), production designer Tom Southwell (HBO's "Black Cat Run"), editor Jim Page ("The Majestic"), costume designer Karyn Wagner ("The Green Mile," "Eve's Bayou," HBO's "Black Cat Run") and Academy Award® nominated composer Thomas Newman ("Erin Brockovich," "The Shawshank Redemption"). "The Salton Sea" is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, an AOL Time Warner Company.

Castle Rock Entertainment is an AOL Time Warner Company.

This film has been rated "R" by the Motion Picture Association of America for "strong violence, drug use, language and some sexuality."