If you want to know where the best marijuana in the world is grown, just ask Oliver Stone. The Oscar-winning film director, a long-time user and an outspoken proponent of the drug, has no doubt.
“The best weed in the world is here in California,” he tells me firmly when we talk in a Los Angeles hotel. “I’ve been doing it for 40 years as you know, and there’s better stuff here than in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Jamaica, South Sudan – and I’ve been to all those places. The Facebook generation, if that’s what you call them, are very smart kids and they make good stuff.”
We are talking drugs because it is the theme of his latest movie, Savages, a ferocious thriller based on Don Winslow’s best-selling crime novel about two Southern California youngsters who run a lucrative business raising some of the best marijuana ever developed, until a Mexican drug cartel moves in.
It stars the British actor Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch as the drug growers, with Blake Lively as the girlfriend they share. Salma Hayek is the ruthless head of the cartel with John Travolta as a sleazy Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent.
Laced with the politics and trade of marijuana, the subject was a natural for 65-year-old Stone, and features the themes of layered power struggles, complex relationships and damaged people that recur in many of his movies.
“The book came to me out of the blue and it read like a fast-paced, exciting, different thriller about the drug war with a new angle,” he said. “To me it was a sun-splashed wild ride, with a lot of twists and turns – I wanted to make it in a way that it would be fun to watch, and unpredictable, with a lot of tension. That’s the best kind of movie.”
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