Wilshire Boulevard is one of the main east-west streets in Los Angeles, stretching 16 miles from downtown at its eastern end to the Pacific Ocean at its western extremity. On October 18, 2008, by way of research for the screenplay, my friend Ben and I got a ride to the far west Los Angeles district of Westwood at 1 a.m., then proceeded to walk east along Wilshire until we got back to the Silver Lake area near downtown. It took over six hours—all night.
It was fascinating to see how the city morphs at night into an amazingly atmospheric metropolis that takes on a surreal air as sleep deprivation and fatigue set in. By day, Wilshire is teeming with traffic. But for much of the night of our odyssey, we could stand in the middle of the street, turn 360 degrees and see not a single person or vehicle. Yet this is Los Angeles, so the quiet can be deceptive. Anything can—and often does—happen.
To me, Los Angeles is the ultimate contradiction. Whatever observation you can make about it, often the opposite is also true. Is it a safe city? Yes, very much so in my experience. Yet it is also dangerous. Is it crass and tasteless? Yes, very much so in parts. Yet it is also home to many of the finest minds and creative talents on the planet. Is it a concrete wasteland? Again, yes, absolutely. But it is also studded with spectacular mountains, beaches, parks and wildlife.
Why set a feature-length screenplay on a boulevard that at night can be so deserted? Surely, not much can happen that would make such a film worth watching. True perhaps. But again, Los Angeles being Los Angeles, the opposite is also true. Anything can—and often does—happen.