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The Big Empty (2003)

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A budding actor is faced with a stalled career and a mountain of debt.



1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... John Person
... Grace
... Neely
... Elron
... Stella
... Randy
... Indian Bob
... Ruthie
... Dan
... Candy
... Agent Banks
... Cowboy
Alejandra Aguilan ... Traveler
... Traveler
Sara Fouts ... Traveler


Would be-Hollywood actor John Person always considered his bizarre neighbor Neely a conspiracy theory nut-case. Still he accepts a simple task to wipe out his over $27,000 debt: delivering a blue suitcase to some Cowboy at Baker, in the empty desert. The place proves a nest of weirdos, including extremely jealous Randy and his girl Ruthie, who seduces John. He learns Neely was murdered, and FBI agent Banks grills him as prime suspect. Yet the weirdest is still to come once Cowboy turns up. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The middle of nowhere is a funny place to find yourself See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official site | production company



Release Date:

28 August 2009 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

El gran destino  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


In an interview, Jon Favreau said that when he read the script for The Big Empty, he was fascinated by its structure, as he didn't see where it was all going in the end. See more »


At the diner on John's second morning in Baker, when Dan sits down next to him, Dan's napkin has the expected silverware on top of it. In the next wide shot, the silverware has been replaced with a black marker and the napkin has some doodles on it. Dan has been staring at John with his arms folded the whole time. See more »


[first lines]
Grace: [answers the door in her robe]
John Person: Hi. Oh, Grace, I'm sorry. I thought I heard you moving around in there. Um, listen, I can't decide.
Grace: Did you hear - about the callback?
John Person: No, not yet. I've got some new head shots.
Grace: What happened to your furniture?
John Person: I had to sell it all.
Grace: Even Your bed?
John Person: Yeah. I'm not gonna need it.
See more »


Referenced in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) See more »


Written by Scott Nickoley & Jamie Dunlap
Performed by Tim Gales
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/Master Source
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

16 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

First time director Steve Anderson cobbled together a movie that makes little sense and frustrates more than it entertains. Meant to be the wacky story of an average Joe - Jon Favreau's John Person - trapped in an off-kilter small town of weird folks, The Big Empty is a confusing tale of a boring actor who needs to pay some bills.

The Big Empty has some interesting characters and situations but the problem is the main character, Person. Faced with the bizarre or dangerous, most people would react with fight or flight. What does Person do? Not much of anything; for the most part he seems non-plussed. So we are left with off-beat characters interacting with someone who doesn't respond to their odd or violent behavior.

Add to this the poorly defined central female roles of Rachael Leigh Cook and Joey Lauren Adams. Cook's teenage Ruthie changes her personality part way through the film like she's actually a pair of good/evil twins, and Adams' Grace is devoid of anything beyond a cute smile.

The fun that The Big Empty does bring to the screen comes from sexy bartender Daryl Hannah, screenwriter/cop Kelsey Grammar, loony neighbor Bud Cort, and nosy motel manager Joe Gries.

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