Carnahan played his ace for Tahoe shoot


Much of the action in Joe Carnahan's "Smokin' Aces" is set in Lake Tahoe, and while most of the carnage took place on Los Angeles soundstages, the production did spend two weeks shooting at South Lake Tahoe ? on both the California and Nevada side.

"I always marvel at Tahoe because it's got this kind of seedy, cruddy gaming industry, but it has such great natural beauty," Carnahan said. The filmmaker wanted to get away from the Las Vegas scene, which he thought had been overdone by filmmakers. He also believed Tahoe would represent how far the character of Buddy "Aces" Israel, a magician mobster played by Jeremy Piven, had fallen.

"For a performer, for Buddy Israel, that's the end of the line," he said. "In that respect, it lent itself very nicely for that."

Although Carnahan, who hails from nearby Sacramento, said, "you never really see Lake Tahoe" in movies, a close look at his own oeuvre reveals a fondness for his backyard. Parts of his "Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane" were shot in the area, as was his BMW short film "Ticker."