Jump to: Spoilers (6)
John Malkovich was unhappy during production because the script was being rewritten virtually every day and he had no idea how his character was going to turn out.
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John Cusack allegedly dislikes this film so much that he refuses to be interviewed about it.
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The film is dedicated to Phil Swartz, an effects specialist who died during filming, when a rigged plane fell and crushed him.
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The song "How Do I Live" was nominated for both an Oscar as Best Original Song and a Razzie as Worst Original Song. It did not win either award.
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Nicolas Cage traveled to Alabama to "perfect" his accent.
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The Las Vegas scenes were filmed at the legendary Sands Hotel immediately prior to its demolition in late 1996. When the production team heard about the city's intentions to raze the historic landmark, they immediately scheduled a multiple camera setup to take advantage of the rare event, which is what you actually see in the movie.
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According to Danny Trejo, there was a lot of 'tough guy competition' in almost everything on the set. For example, when one guy would spit on the floor, the others would immediately imitate it and try to spit even farther.
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While "Sweet Home Alabama" is plays in the background, Garland Greene says: "Define irony: a bunch of idiots dancing around on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash." Several members of Lynyrd Skynyrd died on a plane crash on October 20, 1977.
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The sight of the planes flying in low formation over the Strip during filming caused a number of Las Vegans to call the police.
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The Jailbird airplane used during flight scenes had a series of owners, both military and private. In December 2003, it was sold to All West Freight Inc. in Delta Junction, Alaska. On August 1, 2010, it crashed into Mount Healy, in Denali National Park, killing all three flight crew.
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Colm Meaney's key chain has a Star Trek Communicator ornament on it. He played Chief Miles O'Brien on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993).
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The car DEA agent Duncan Malloy drives is a 1967 Corvette Stingray (C2) and at the time of filming would have retailed for $38,000.
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The movie was inspired by a newspaper article about a plane that transports convicts.
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During set ups, Nicolas Cage lifted weights off camera to maintain the physique he had already attained for the film. Entertainment Tonight filmed a report on the film during filming and caught Cage working out between takes.
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The theme song "How Do I Live" was originally performed by 14-year-old LeAnn Rimes.
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This is the first film that Jerry Bruckheimer produced without Don Simpson. The new Jerry Bruckheimer Films logo was featured for the very first time.
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The film was called "Les Ailes de l'Enfer" (The Wings of Hell) in France. "Con" in French is a slang word for dumb people.
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Willem Dafoe and Mickey Rourke auditioned for the part of Cyrus. During Rourke's audition he improvised by producing a razor sharp Bowie knife, both terrifying and impressing the director. Though suitably impressed they decided to cast John Malkovich instead.
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It was released in June 1997, the same month as Nicolas Cage's other action hit Face/Off (1997), which came out a few weeks later. The films were shot consecutively, from the summer of 1996 to early 1997, with the two productions nearly overlapping at one point.
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Don Simpson reportedly hated the film's concept. When he and Jerry Bruckheimer ended their longtime producing partnership, Simpson was happy to relinquish any ties to the film, while Bruckheimer got the green light from BV to begin filming for a summer 1997 release. The film was not affected by Simpson's death in January 1996.
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Gary Oldman was the first choice to play Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom. Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, James Gandolfini, Ed Harris, Rutger Hauer, William Hurt, Michael Keaton, Michael Madsen, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Ron Perlman, Tim Robbins, Tom Sizemore, John Travolta, Peter Weller, and Bruce Willis were also considered.
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Composer Mark Mancina had to leave the project in the middle of scoring it due to scheduling conflicts with Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) which was slated to open at the same time as this film in June 1997. Trevor Rabin, who was already on board working closely with Mancina co-writing some music shortly before Mancina left completed the score on his own. They do share co-composing credit.
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Robert Downey Jr., Charlie Sheen and Matthew Broderick were considered for the part of Vince Larkin.
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In the trailer for this movie, the flying scene where the 2 AH-1 Cobras escort Jailbird 1 during their landing in the Las Vegas strip included the dialog "Where are they going to land this thing?" spoken by one of the Cobra pilots, and the response by John Cusack's character: "How about the blackjack tables". Neither dialog was included in the final cut.
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Stephen Baldwin, William Baldwin, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Dolph Lundgren, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce Willis were considered for the part of Cameron Poe.
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The writer Jonathan Hensleigh did an uncredited re-write on the script.
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The Jailbird C-123 used during the filming of the taxi scenes is now on display at Wendover Airfield which is also used to film the scenes of Lerner Airfield.
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Tim Roth was the first choice for the part of Garland 'The Marietta Mangler' Greene. He and Steve Buscemi appeared in Reservoir Dogs (1992) five years earlier.
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The real Con Air uses 3 different types of planes: The Harker 800, Boeing 737 and SAAB 2000.
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The names and signatures on Cameron Poe's parole form are of assistant property masters Randy Gunter and Stan Cockerell.
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In order to prepare for his role as the criminal known as Diamond Dog, Ving Rhames was given a script containing all of the words that Diamond Dog would say throughout the course of the film. Rhames proceeded to memorize these words and then recite them back on the film's set when he was asked to by director Simon West.
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The American theatrical trailer for this film was narrated by Hal Douglas.
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The events of the movie take place on July 14th, which is mentioned several times in the letter from Casey to her father, Cameron (Nic Cage). July 14th is the date of a famous and historically significant prison break. The French Revolution started on July 14th, 1789 when the people of Paris stormed the fortress prison known as the "Bastille." The Bastille was where people, particularly political prisoners, were imprisoned simply based on arbitrary and/or malicious royal edicts that could not be appealed and did not specify the crime or reason for their incarceration. The prisoners were freed, although there were only seven at the time. The Bastille also had an armory full of weapons that the rioters seized and helped power the revolution. During the following month, feudalism ended in France and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (based on the Declaration of Independence) was proclaimed. The document became historically influential in European democratic traditions and subsequent revolutions. The day is still celebrated in France and other countries as "Bastille Day."
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Ving Rhames and Mykelti Williamson would later star together in Holiday Heart (2000).
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Originally scheduled for a March 14, 1997 release date.
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Nicolas Cage and John Cusack would later work together again in The Frozen Ground (2013), however, their roles are reversed. Cage plays the cop, and Cusack plays the criminal.
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Nicolas Cage and Brendan Kelly previously worked together in The Rock (1996).
Ving Rhames and Jesse Borrego both appeared in Blood In, Blood Out (1993).
Nicholas Cage's real name is Nicholas Kim Coppola.
Dave Chappelle and Angela Featherstone also both appear together in 200 Cigarettes (1999).
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Billy "Bedlam" Bedford is in prison for killing his wife's entire family ("driving 4 towns over") after finding her in bed with another man. Bedford would therefore be in State Prison, not Federal as the state would have jurisdiction of the state laws broken.
It is amazing that Poe doesn't know the name SnoBalls when he talks about the pink cakes.
The dead cons, Benson, Karls, and Popovich, are named after second assistant cameraman Garrett Benson, first assistant cameraman Johnny Karls, and key grip J. Michael Popovich.
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In an alternate version shown on ABC, an extended scene of Malloy's tirade after learning that fellow DEA Agent Simms was killed is featured. Malloy went on to explain how he met Simms early in his career and explained the motivation to shoot the plane down with no questions asked.
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Body Count: 43.
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After the fire truck chase sequence at the end, Cyrus "The Virus" would have been killed instantly when the ladder hit the small bridge according to a technical advisor on the film. He would have at the very least been unconscious when his head was subsequently smashed.
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DEA Agent Simms was shot in the chest by Cyrus. Later, while arguing with Larkin, Malloy states that Cyrus shot his agent in the head.
Poe claims as he is being transferred to his flight home that he was locked up 3 months before his daughter was born, yet in the opening scene where he puts his head to his wife's chest, she is clearly not 6 months pregnant, not even 6 weeks.
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