The Big Empty

Last Update: 23 Feb 2005
(You need a browser capable of viewing tables to see this page properly)

John Person (Jon Favreau) is a 30-something struggling actor living alone and facing eviction from his one room apartment in Hollywood. Behind on his rent and heavily in debt, he goes against his better judgment - and that of his pretty neighbor Grace (Joey Lauren Adams) - and accepts an unsolicited offer from his strange neighbor Neely (Bud Cort) to courier a blue suitcase up to the desert truck stop of Baker, California.

Click on the picture to see a larger version.
Source: Aura Entertainment and Artisan Entertainment

There, in the middle of nowhere, at a seedy motel in the shadow of The World's Largest Thermometer, he'll simply deliver the locked suitcase to a trucker called Cowboy (Sean Bean) and be paid twenty-seven thousand dollars in cold, hard cash. Seems like easy money. But then John is given a loaded gun and told he must defend the blue suitcase with his life.

On arrival in Baker, John discovers he's already missed the mysterious Cowboy. Soon he's reluctantly mixed up with young local vixen Ruthie (Rachael Leigh Cook), her mother Stella (Daryl Hannah), Ruthie's hotheaded, jealous boyfriend Randy (Adam Beach) and paranoid, alien-obsessed locals.

When Special Agent Banks (Kelsey Grammer) arrives at the local watering hole to question him about the murder and decapitation of Neely and hundreds of people recently gone missing, John realizes that he might be mixed up in something much more dangerous and bizarre than he ever imagined. Nothing is ever easy. Later that dark night, Cowboy makes a violent return to Baker and John finds himself caught somewhere between the surreal, the supernatural and the just plain weird. As the final showdown begins, John is faced with a choice that could change his life forever. Has this whole town gone mad? Or are the loony locals, who John dismissed as crazy, the only sane things about this strange parallel universe called The Big Empty?




Click on the thumbnails to see bigger versions of these posters and the pic of "Cowboy".

Writer-director Steve Anderson's feature THE BIG EMPTY is a dark comedy set in Los Angeles and in Baker, California. Situated on the edge of Death Valley, halfway between the glitz of Las Vegas and the sleaze of L.A., Baker is the infamous home of the World's Largest Thermometer. It's in Baker, amid the towering cacti and the crowded truck stops, that THE BIG EMPTY pays homage to the pulpy, fatalistic film noirs of the 1940s and 50s. In those films, flawed heroes get swept up in dangerous situations they don't fully comprehend and find that their sure-fire schemes backfire in ways they never anticipated.

Anderson is a veteran cameraman who's shot seven national documentaries for PBS and thousands of hours of broadcast television. He has won both a Cable Ace Award (for CNN coverage of the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake) and a Peabody Award (for his PBS Documentary Safe Haven). Working for numerous clients, including CNN, Anderson has traveled the world capturing hard news and entertainment stories for network broadcast. In addition to THE BIG EMPTY, Anderson has several feature length screenplays under option, and has written and directed several stage plays in New York. THE BIG EMPTY is Anderson's feature film directing debut.

Rainstorm Entertainment developed The Big Empty and produced it with Echo Lake Productions. The project was co-financed by Aura Entertainment, and production services were provided by NXNW.


The Big Empty opened November 21, 2003 at the following venues:
Laemmle Sunset 5
8000 Sunset Blvd (Sunset at Crescent Heights)
LA, CA 90046
Century Orleans 18
4500 West Tropicana
Las Vegas, NV 89103
AMC River Park Square 20
808 West Main
Spokane, WA 99201

The Big Empty will be shown at the sixth annual Sarasota Film Festival, on Friday, January 30, 2004, at 10.15pm. More info at the Sarasota Film Festival site.

The Big Empty
will also be making the festival rounds at Victoria (January 30 - February 8, 2004), Brussels (March 12 - 27, 2004) and Bangkok (January 22 - February 2, 2004).

Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival

Capitol 6/#6
Feb 1 at 6.45 pm
(with producer Q&A)

Capitol 6/#1
Feb 2 at 9.45 pm

Brussels Intl. Festival of Fantastic Film


Bangkok International Film Festival

Jan 24 at 5.00 pm

Jan 28 at 2.00 pm

The Big Empty was filmed on location in Baker, California in January and February 2002.

Sean, who plays Cowboy, filmed his scenes between 25 January and mid-February 2002.

The Big Empty had its world premiere at the AFI (American Film Institute) Fest in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 9, 2003. Artisan Films released The Big Empty in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Spokane on November 21, 2003.

Read first-hand reports of Sean's attendance at the AFI Premiere here (with pix).


 Sean on location with 2nd AD Adam Lee Jordan (photo courtesy Adam Lee Jordan)

According to producer Gregg Daniel, The Big Empty has found a distributor for Australia, but release dates (as of December 7, 2003) are still unknown.

Rachael Leigh Cook:
"The movie's about a guy who agrees to bring a mysterious bag to the small desert town of Baker from L.A. and what happens to him on the way. I play a restless 19-year-old who tries to convince Jon Favreau's character that aliens exist and I know how to join them."
(From Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck & Stacy Jenel Smith, 21 January 2002)

Sean Bean:
"I look at scripts and choose the ones that most appeal. I've just finished a low-budget film, The Big Empty, with Jon Favreau, which was a real change for me. I play this cowboy... it was a good experience, which I really enjoyed, and very different to the kind of big-budget productions I have been working on."
(From She magazine, June 2002)

Click here for The Big Empty press notes.
Visit The Big Empty Press Archive
Watch the theatrical trailer here at Artisan Entertainment's site
and here on the Apple trailers site.
Visit The Big Empty official site.
Click here for lots of SCREENCAPS from The Big Empty trailers.

Visit Rainstorm Entertainment
Visit The Big Empty (Echo Lake Productions)
Visit Aura Entertainment
Visit Artisan Entertainment


Joey Lauren Adams
Adam Beach
Sean Bean
Brent Briscoe
Rachael Leigh Cook
Bud Cort
Gary Farmer
Jon Favreau
Kelsey Grammer
Jon Gries
Daryl Hannah
Danny Trejo
Melora Walters

John Person
Agent Banks
Lt. Gates


Produced by

Rainstorm Entertainment,
in association with Echo Lake Productions
and Aura Entertainment

Executive Producers

Steven Bickel, Jeffrey Kramer, Steven G. Kaplan, Peter Wetherell


Artisan Entertainment


Directed by
Written by
Casting Director
Director of Photography
Production Design
Costume Design
Film Editor
Music by
Running time
Release Date

Premiere Screenings

Doug Mankoff, Gregg L. Daniel, Andew Spaulding, Keith Resnick
Steve Anderson
Steve Anderson
Jory Weitz
Chris Manley
Aaron Osborne
Kristin M. Burke
Scot Scalise
Bryan Tyler
94 minutes
November 21, 2003 (Los Angeles, Las
Vegas and Spokane)
Mann Criterion (Los Angeles)
February 21, 23, 25, 2003

Star 1 Theatre, Cannes
May 16, 17, 18 and 20, 2003

AFI (Los Angeles International Film Festival) Nov 9 & 10, 2003 - ArcLight Theatre

DVD/Video Release

April 23, 2004 (Artisan)
Region 1/NTSC

May 2, 2005
Region 2



Return to Films & TV

Return to The Compleat Sean Bean Main Page