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THE MOVIE: The Salton Sea

Val Kilmer • Vincent D'Onofrio • Doug Hutchison

Val Kilmer examines himself inThe Salton Sea THE CONCEPT:
In despair, after witnessing the murder of his wife, Danny Parker (Val Kilmer) inhabits a seedy underworld populated by bizarre characters, united principally by their choice of drug: crystal meth. Parker becomes a police informant, but in the crazy world in which he lives nothing is as it seems, and nobody can be trusted.

U.S. RELEASE: April 26, LA / New York • Rated: R


Tom (Val Kilmer) with his horn in silhouette at the Salton SeaVAL KILMER:
"This movie was harder to do than The Doors. I think the music in The Doors was an outlet for me. With this movie, the mood was pretty relentless to be in, even though there's a lot of comedy in it, and there was a great spirit on the set. This was a hard role to play."

"The only thing I changed in the original script was that Val's character was pretending to use drugs. That didn't ring true. To me it was more interesting to dramatize a story about a guy who had an agenda, but got lost in the drug use."

"When I read the script, I wanted to play Pooh-Bear, and I called my agent, and he said, 'Vincent D'Onofrio's doing it.' As it turned out, thankfully so; he's so good in that role."

Vincent D'Onofrio is Pooh-BearVINCENT D'ONOFRIO:
"I felt there was a lot I could do with Pooh-Bear when I first read the script. He's a foil character who really helps the story along. I always try to avoid making typical choices with a character, and villains are particularly fun and interesting for me because I try to humanize them and give them heart. I have a very short attention span, so I pick the most interesting and complex characters I can find to keep from getting bored."

"I was invited to hang out with the cops in Riverside, California (to research my role). I actually went on busts with these guys, literally kicking down doors. I learned a lot, not just from the busts we were on. I ended up changing a lot of the dialogue in the script, with D. J.'s consent, because I listened to the cops' lingo."

"The scariest day for me was the first day of shooting when I had to go in and give Val my first directing note, but it went smooth and well."

"I was particularly interested in D. J.'s personal motives for telling this story. He'd been looking for a story about loss, because he had lost his older brother. I'd lost my little brother, so I knew we had this kinship right away about something that is at the core of the story. And no matter how wild it gets, there's a heart to this film that comes from D. J."

"I was thrilled to work with Val Kilmer. Val rides that line between genius and madness. Sometimes being around his orbit, because he's on Planet Val, is a little like taking a hit of acid; you never know what's going to happen from one moment to the next. Sometimes we'd have these amazing lengthy conversations, and when Val would walk away, I'd go, 'What did he just say?' With Val, I never knew if he was giving me his character or pieces of Val. Whatever he was doing actually worked."

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official site for The Salton Sea
Images above © 2002 Castle Rock / Warner Bros.
Feature © 2002 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, June 2002 cover

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Film Review Special #39, Sequels

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