Readers of the crime novel "Savages" know the story's ending isn't exactly feel-good Hollywood fare. Oliver Stone, who directed and co-wrote Friday's adaptation of Don Winslow's book, spent a lot of time wrestling with the film's last frames, "working on the ending until the very last minute," according to Donna Langley, co-chairman of "Savages" distributor Universal Pictures.
But well before he settled into the editing bay, Stone had to find the proper location for the film's climax, in which a pair of hostages (one played by Blake Lively) are exchanged between some very heavily armed kidnappers. The idea was to find a setting so remote that anything could -- and, as it turns out, would -- happen.
"I really want a place where there is nothing -- it's desert, just open sky," the filmmakers says. The production ended up in Mystery Mesa, a barren plateau not far from Santa Clarita.
Much of "Savages," which stars Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson as wildly successful marijuana farmers whose business attracts the unwelcome interest of a Mexican drug cartel, was shot in and around Laguna Beach.