The Owens Valley in California is a very popular filming location for Hollywood Studios. Over one hundred films have been set in the valley, including numerous recent box office hits. The Owens Valley is the deepest valley in North America. It has a dramatic setting at the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It lies at an elevation of about 4,000 feet with the Sierra Nevadas rising to over 14,000 feet to the west. This dramatic setting, with dry open terrain makes it a popular choice for movie producers.
Movies often portray settings that are not the actual location the movie is filmed. For example, early in 2008 movie “Iron Man”, Robert Downey, Jr.’s character is in a convoy in what is said to be Afghanistan. The scene was actually filmed in the Owens Valley near Lone Pine.
The Owens Valley is attractive for film producers as they are looking for locations that are cost-effective, convenient, and offer facilities that can handle the hundreds of people working on a studio film production. The valley is about two hundred miles north of Los Angeles area, where many film studios are based. It is open, dry, not very populated and has dramatic mountain scenery. The valley was historically a popular location to film Westerns.
The city of Lone Pine, which is the nearest city to 14,495-foot Mt. Whitney, is a very popular film location. The surrounding area was featured in the 2000 Oscar winning film, Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe; the 2000 movie Gone in Sixty Seconds, starring Nicolas Cage, and the 2009 film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In Gone in Sixty Seconds, Nicolas Cage’s character has retired as from being a master car thief and relocated to a small, quiet and scenic town that is actually Lone Pine.
Other movies that feature Lone Pine area include the 1993 movie Kalifornia, starring Brad Pitt, 1994 film Maverick starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster; and G.I. Jane, a 1997 movie starring Demi Moore.