The Big Empty

Release Date: November 14, 2003
Limited release

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A struggling actor named John Person, deep in debt and working part-time as a messenger delivering scripts, is asked by his neighbor, Neely, to deliver a locked blue suitcase to a trucker named Cowboy who is awaiting the package in the desert truck-stop town of Baker, California. Neely offers John more than enough money to get out of debt, and imposes only two conditions on the delivery: That John never open the suitcase, and that he defend it with his life, if necessary. Eager to make what seems on the surface to be easy money - because after all, what could possibly be wrong with this scenario? - John accepts the courier gig and heads to Baker, only to find he’s missed Cowboy. While impatiently awaiting Cowboy’s return, John becomes embroiled in the volatile relationship between jealous local Randy and his flirtatious girlfriend, Ruthie. He also begins to hear strange tales about Baker being an intergalactic truck-stop for UFOs, and that more than a few of the already-miniscule population of the little desert town have started to go missing. Continuing to always just miss hooking up with Cowboy, John’s increasing frustration takes on an anxious edge when he learns that Neely’s body has been found in LA, sans head. Questioned by the FBI about Neely's murder and the disappearances and, worse yet, realizing he might not get paid, John soon discovers that there is more to his little courier job than he ever imagined, and finds that he must make a choice that might change his life forever.

The Big Empty is the first feature film from writer/director Steve Anderson, and is currently scheduled for an extremely limited release beginning November 14, 2003. In fact, the film will only play in the Los Angeles market, at least initially. Whether it will ever expand beyond that will likely depend upon how it fares. Given that The Big Empty is a dark comedy, and seemingly a decided quirky one at that, it will probably have an uphill battle at first. But with a cast featuring, amongst others, Jon Favreau, Kelsey Grammar and Daryl Hannah, The Big Empty should prove interesting enough to draw in the art-house crowd for a look-see. Positive critical reception and word-of-mouth will be essential for this movie to convince Artisan to expand the release outside of LA. Should The Big Empty not make it to a theatre near you, however, it sounds like the kind of unique project that should be given a chance once it arrives at your local video store. After all, we can’t expect Hollywood to take even the smallest of risks on producing unusual and original projects if we don’t shell out the bucks to see them, now can we? (Stephanie Star Smith/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Big Empty
Main Cast Jon Favreau, Bud Cort, Sean Bean
Supporting Cast Rachael Leigh Cook, Kelsey Grammer, Daryl Hannah, Joey Lauren Adams, Adam Beach, Brent Briscoe, Gary Farmer, Jon Gries, Danny Trejo, Melora Walters
Director Steve Anderson
Screenwriter Steve Anderson
Distributor Artisan Entertainment
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 94 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Big Empty
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Mulholland Drive 10/19/010.96 1.02 247 3889.00 3992.2 7.22 7.70 6.13
Made 7/27/010.66 0.70 105 6307.00 6474.4 5.31 5.66 7.04
Equilibrium 12/6/020.54 0.56 301 1799.00 1799.0 1.19 1.23 2.20



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