Con Air: About The Cast

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Academy Award®-winner NICOLAS CAGE is parolee Cameron Poe, a decorated Army ranger with a fierce temper, who has spent eight long years in prison for defending his wife from brutal attackers.

One of the most versatile young actors of our time, Cage is equally well known for his poignant portrayals in both drama and comedy. Most recently, he has received rave reviews for his role as the FBI's chemical/biological weapons expert and unlikely hero Stanley Goodspeed, in last summer's Simpson/ Bruckheimer blockbuster "The Rock." He also earned numerous accolades and the Oscar® for his riveting performance opposite Elisabeth Shue in "Leaving Las Vegas," directed by Mike Figgis. That performance also earned him Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Actor, the New York, Los Angeles and Chicago Film Critics' Awards, as well as the National Board of Review Best Actor Award.

It was his portrayal of a tormented Vietnam vet in "Birdy" that first established Cage as a serious actor. Directed by Alan Parker, "Birdy" won the jury prize at Cannes. Cage then received a Golden Globe Award nomination as Best Actor for his role as Cher's lover in "Moonstruck." He then starred in David Lynch's "Wild At Heart," co-starring Laura Dern, which won the Palm d'Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.

Cage received another Golden Globe nomination for his role in the romantic comedy "Honeymoon in Vegas," directed by Andrew Bergman, also starring Sarah Jessica Parker and James Caan.

His other film credits include the thriller "Kiss of Death," directed by Barbet Schroeder; "It Could Happen To You," opposite Bridget Fonda; and "Guarding Tess," co-starring Shirley MacLaine. He also starred in "Red Rock West," "Trapped in Paradise," "Valley Girl," "The Cotton Club," "Racing With the Moon," "The Boy in Blue," "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Raising Arizona," "Vampire's Kiss" and "Fire Birds."

Cage was raised in Long Beach, California and lived there until his family moved to San Francisco when he was 12. He began acting at age 15 when he enrolled in San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre where he appeared in the school's production of "Golden Boy." He later moved to Los Angeles, and while still a high school student, landed a role in the television film "The Best of Times." He made his feature film debut in "Rumble Fish."

Cage resides in Los Angeles.

JOHN CUSACK plays U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin. Determined to recapture Grissom and the plane of escaped convicts, he must stay one step ahead of the fleeing felons as well as his overzealous superiors.

Cusack recently made his screenwriting and co-producing debut with "Grosse Pointe Blank" in which he also starred. He also recently starred in "City Hall" with Al Pacino and includes among his other films Woody Allen's acclaimed comedy, "Bullets Over Broadway" and "The Road to Wellville."

He previously earned great critical notice for his portrayal of a clever young con artist in Stephen Frears' "The Grifters" and received accolades for his performances in "Eight Men Out," "Say Anything" and Rob Reiner's "The Sure Thing." Cusack later worked with Reiner in a supporting role in "Stand By Me."

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Cusack made his feature film debut in 1983 in the coming-of-age story, "Class," with Jacqueline Bisset. His subsequent film credits include John Hughes' "Sixteen Candles," "Grandville, U.S.A.," "Better Off Dead," "One Crazy Summer" (for cult director Savage Steve Holland), "The Journey of Natty Gann" and "Tapeheads."

Although Cusack's early career was marked primarily by his work in comic films, his role in John Sayles' exploration of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, "Eight Men Out" provided a dramatic point of departure for his career. He followed the role with performances opposite Paul Newman in Roland Joffe's "Fat Man and Little Boy"; and opposite James Spader in Herbert Ross' "True Colors."

Other film credits include Woody Allen's "Shadows and Fog," Robert Altman's "The Player," and Tim Robbins' "Bob Roberts." Earlier film work also includes "Map of the Human Heart," "Postcards from the Edge" and "Money for Nothing."

In addition to his motion picture credentials, Cusack co-founded New Crime Theatre Company with "Grosse Pointe Blank" co-writers Steve Pink and D.V. DeVincentis. Cusack has directed several plays for New Crime Theatre Company, including "Amalgazam...After The Dog Years" and "Methusalem," winning him a "Jeff" citation for Best Director at Chicago's noted Joseph Jefferson Awards. He also directed Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

Mastermind of the hijacking plot, JOHN MALKOVICH as Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom, leads a band of violent convicts on a desperate bid to freedom.

Malkovich has made an indelible mark on audiences in such films as "Dangerous Liaisons," "The Killing Fields," "The Sheltering Sky," "Places in the Heart" (for which he received an Academy Award® nomination), "Of Mice and Men" and "In the Line of Fire" for which he received another Oscar® nomination. Most recently he appeared in "Mary Reilly," "Mulholland Falls," Jane Campion's "The Portrait of Lady" and Volker Schlondorff's "The Ogre."

Malkovich also appeared on stage in the Steppenwolf production of "The Libertine." He first joined that famed Chicago theatre company after graduating from college. Between 1976 and 1982 he acted in, directed and designed sets for more than 50 Steppenwolf productions. His debut on the New York stage in the Steppenwolf production of Sam Shepard's "True West" earned him an Obie Award. He performed in "Death of a Salesman," "Slip of the Tongue," Sam Shepard's "State of Shock" and Lanford Wilson's "Burn This" among many other notable plays.

Malkovich has directed 16 plays at Steppenwolf including the celebrated "Balm in Gilead," "Arms and the Man" and "Libra," which he adapted from Don DeLillos novel.

Malkovich was born and raised in Benton, Illinois.

STEVE BUSCEMI is serial killer Garland Greene, at one moment seemingly of sound mind and, at the next, quite obviously deranged and frighteningly dangerous.

Buscemi marked his feature film directorial debut with "Trees Lounge" in which he also starred and wrote the screenplay. The film also starred Samuel L. Jackson, Chloe Sevigny and Anthony LaPaglia. He was recently seen in the Coen brothers' "Fargo," which was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award®, and "Escape From L.A." with Kurt Russell.

He began his film career with a starring role in "Parting Glances" which won the 1986 USA Film Festival's Best Film Award. Buscemi went on to star in Martin Scorsese's portion of "New York Stories," Jim Jarmusch's "Mystery Train" (for which he received a Spirit Award nomination), the Coen brothers' "The Hudsucker Proxy," "Miller's Crossing" and "Barton Fink" (which won three major awards at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival) and in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs" (for which he won a Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor). His other films include "Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead," "Living in Oblivion" and "Kansas City." He is currently filming the Coen brothers' "The Big Lebowski."

Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Valley Stream, Long Island. He originally set out to become a stand-up comic, but instead studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute for six months, followed by two years under the tutelage of John Strasberg. He began his professional career performing original material he and fellow actor/writer Mark Boone Junior conceived for small clubs on the lower east side of Manhattan which led to work in off-off-Broadway productions. Buscemi appeared in many La MaMa, ETC., and Performing Garage productions.

VING RHAMES portrays convicted murderer Nathan Jones, a.k.a. Diamond Dog.

Rhames currently stars in two feature films, the John Singleton directed "Rosewood," and "Dangerous Ground," opposite Ice Cube and Elizabeth Hurley. First gaining prominence as the shadowy drug dealer Marcellus Wallace in Quentin Tarantino's critically lauded "Pulp Fiction," Rhames subsequently starred in "Mission Impossible" as the computer genius of the team of special agents, and soon thereafter he starred in "Striptease" as the bouncer/confidant to Demi Moore's character.

Born in Harlem, Rhames attended New York's High School of the Performing Arts-the only student from his junior high to be accepted into the prestigious school. He went on to graduate from the Juilliard School of Drama in 1983. His classical training led him to perform many works by Shakespeare, Ibsen, Moliere and Chekhov. He has since appeared on Broadway in "The Boys of Winter," and off-Broadway in "Map of the World," "Short Eyes," "Richard III" and "Ascension Day." He also completed a European tour with Peter Sellers' production of "Ajax."

Rhames' other films include Ivan Reitman's "Dave," starring opposite Kevin Kline; "The Saint of Fort Washington," opposite Danny Glover and Matt Dillon; "Jacob's Ladder"; "Drop Squad," directed by Spike Lee; "Bound By Honor," "The Long Walk Home"; "Flight of the Intruder"; "Patty Hearst"; and "Kiss of Death," in which he co-starred with Nicolas Cage and David Caruso.

On television Rhames stars in the recurring role of Walter, the brother-in-law of Eric LaSalle in NBC's series "ER."

COLM MEANEY is Duncan Malloy, the overzealous D.E.A. agent who will stop at nothing to capture the escaped convicts.

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Meaney left school at age 17 to apprentice as a fisherman, but his great love of acting led him to enroll in drama classes at The Abbey, Dublin's National Theatre. He first came to the United States in 1982 to work in New York and regional theatre and moved to Los Angeles in 1987, where he was quickly cast in his first feature film, "The Dead," by legendary director John Huston.

It was his exuberant performance in "The Commitments" which gained him wider recognition. A string of other film appearances followed, including roles in the other two films of the highly acclaimed Roddy Doyle Barrytown trilogy, "The Snapper" (for which he won a Golden Globe Award nomination) and the upcoming "The Van."

Meaney has proved himself a most versatile actor with roles in such films as "Dick Tracy," "Come See the Paradise," "Die Hard 2," "Far and Away," "Into the West," "Under Siege," "The Road to Wellville," "The Last of the Mohicans," and "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain."

Meaney is perhaps best known on television for his role as Chief Operating Officer Miles O'Brien on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and in the spin-off series "Deep Space Nine." He also starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation miniseries "Scarlett."

His theatre credits include "Breaking the Code" on Broadway and "The Poker Session."

Meaney recently completed filming Lodge Kerrigan's latest film (currently untitled) starring opposite Vincent D'Onofrio and Katrin Cartridge, and this spring will be filming "Owd Bob," a Kingsborough Greenlight Production, directed by Rodney Gibbons, co-starring with James Cromwell ("Babe") on the Isle of Man. Following this, Meaney will start work on Ted Demme's new film, "Noose," co-starring with Dennis Leary, Famke Janssen, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Billy Crudup.

MYKELTI WILLIAMSON is Poe's best friend and cellmate "Baby-O," a diabetic who faces death when every syringe is destroyed during the hijack and he cannot inject his needed insulin.

Williamson received rave reviews for his performance as "Bubba" opposite Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump." He followed with such critical successes as "Waiting to Exhale," "Heat," "How to Make an American Quilt," "Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home," and the HBO production of "Baseball in Black and White."

His other films include "Free Willy," "The First Power," "Miracle Mile," "Number One With a Bullet," "Wildcats" and "Streets of Fire."

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Williamson is of Blackfoot Indian descent. His first name means "Spirit" or "Silent Friend" in the Blackfoot language. He grew up in Los Angeles and at age 13 became the youngest dancer with the nationally renowned dance troupe, The Lockers. He later attended UCLA's School of Drama.

RACHEL TICOTIN plays U.S. Marshal Guard Sally Bishop, who is taken hostage during the hijacking and is at the mercy of the crew of escaped cons.

Since making her feature film debut in "Fort Apache: The Bronx" (opposite Paul Newman), she has appeared in such films as "Steal Big, Steal Little" (with Andy Garcia), "Don Juan DeMarco" opposite Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando, "Natural Born Killers" for Oliver Stone, and in Joel Schumacher's "Falling Down" (with Michael Douglas). Among Ticotin's other credits are "One Good Cop," "FX 2," "Total Recall" and "Critical Condition."

She began her career on television as a series regular on "For Love and Honor" and subsequently starred in such telefilms as "Love, Mary," "Rockabye: When the Bough Breaks," "Spies, Lies and Naked Thighs," "Jury of One," "Thicker Than Blood," "Deconstructing Sarah," "Wharf Rat," and "Keep the Change." She also had a recurring role on the ABC series "O'Hara" and starred in a segment of the HBO trilogy, "Doing Time: Women in Prison." She recently completed the HBO movie "First Time Felon."

She danced for six years with the Ballet Hispanico of New York, worked with famed choreographers Tina Ramirez, Alvin Ailey, Donald MacKayle, Anna Sokolow and Geoffrey Holder.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, MONICA POTTER (Tricia Poe) began theatrical training at age 13. In 1994, Potter settled in Los Angeles launching her feature film career. She makes he motion picture debut with the upcoming Warner Brothers bio pic "Pre" written and directed by Robert Towne and is currently shooting Channel 4 Productions' romantic comedy, "Martha -- Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence," for director Nick Hamm.

DAVE CHAPPELLE plays crazed convict "Pinball" Parker.

Chappelle recently won rave reviews for his comedic role of Reggie Warrington in Eddie Murphy's blockbuster "The Nutty Professor." He made his theatrical debut for director Mel Brooks in the 1993 parody, "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."

Chappelle graduated from the famed Duke Ellington School of the Arts in his hometown of Washington, DC. He began performing stand-up at local comedy clubs at age 14. His mother would chaperone him and keep a watchful eye on her son, making sure he kept his act clean. Four years later, he moved to New York and quickly became a top draw on the local comedy club circuit. During this time, Chappelle began to amass appearances on such programs as "The Late Show with David Letterman," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," "The Arsenio Hall Show," as well as programming on MTV. At age 23, Chappelle has already made more than 20 national television appearances.

Other credits include HBO's "1995 Young Comedians Special," hosted by Garry Shandling. Chappelle has performed live with such legendary performers as Aretha Franklin, Richard Pryor and Whoopi Goldberg.

His next feature role will be in the comedy "Woo," being released in November, co-starring Jada Pinkett and Tommy Davidson (New Line Cinema).

M.C. GAINEY portrays "Swamp Thing," the pilot of "The Jailbird" for his convict captain Cyrus Grissom.

Gainey began his career as a folk singer on the New Orleans coffee house circuit. After studying theatre at the University of Southern Mississippi, he worked as an undertaker's apprentice, a gravedigger, a nightclub bouncer, and a bounty hunter before spending two years at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

Gainey has appeared in the films "Citizen Ruth," "Geronimo," "Leap of Faith," "The Mighty Ducks," "An Innocent Man," "Fatal Beauty," "Starman," "Soul Man," "Blind Justice," "Frances," "Time After Time," and "Pennies From Heaven."

On television, Gainey had recurring roles on "Designing Women" and "Against the Law," and also guested on such series as "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "L.A. Law," "Hunter," "Cheers" and "The Commish." He is also featured in the telefilms, "Caddie Woodlawn," "The Rape of Richard Beck" and the miniseries "The Blue and the Gray."

Among his extensive stage credits are "Othello," "Two Idiots in Hollywood" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

JOHN ROSELIUS (Devers) has appeared in a long list of feature films including the recent Michael Jordan hit "Space Jam." His other motion picture credits include the David Lynch-directed "Lost Highway," as well as "Devil in a Blue Dress," "Guarding Tess," "Love Streams," "Final Analysis," "Ruby," "State of Grace," "Let it Ride," "Firesale," "Matilda" and "Mr. Billion."

On television Roselius had a recurring role on "High Incident." He also guest-starred on "JAG," "Quantum Leap," "Hill Street Blues," "The Rockford Files," "Remington Steel" "The A-Team," "Brothers-in-Law," "Norma & Marilyn," "The Contender," and "Serpico," among many others.

RENOLY (Sally Can't Dance) most recently co-starred as Mikey, a crack addict suffering through withdrawals and struggling to survive after the Holland Tunnel explodes, in Sylvester Stallone's "Daylight." He also appeared in Hollywood Pictures' "Dangerous Minds," and in "Hackers."

In theater, Renoly is currently working with Paul Simon on the upcoming Broadway musical "The Capeman." His other theatre credits include numerous musicals and off-Broadway productions such as Elizabeth Swados' "The New Americans"; "Voices From the Front Line," at Carnegie Hall where he was a featured soloist; "Stand-Up Tragedy"; and "The Me Nobody Knows," for which he created the role of Hector.

As a writer, Renoly's credits include "Bring in the Morning, A Wake-Up Call," which was the first book musical ever produced at the Apollo Theatre. He also co-wrote the Emmy Award nominated pilot episode of the ABC and Henson Productions' series "City Kids." Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Renoly currently resides in New York.

DANNY TREJO is "Johnny 23," a serial rapist who plans to add Guard Bishop to his list of victims.

A former boxing champion, Trejo first began working in films in 1984 while visiting a friend on the set of "Runaway Train." Approached by screenwriter Eddie Buckner to train the film's star, Eric Roberts, and to choreograph fight sequences, he subsequently won a feature role in the film.

Trejo went on to appear in such films as "From Dusk Till Dawn," "Heat," "Desperado," "Bound By Honor," "Angel of Desire," "Doppelganger," "Victor 1: The George Aguliar Story" and "Concrete War." He also appeared in "Marked For Death," "Death Wish IV," "Lock Up" and "Penitentiary III."

He is also featured in George Huang's "Anaconda" and makes a cameo appearance in "The Trojan War" directed by Luis Llosa. In addition, he recently completed shooting "Los Locos" with Mario Van Peebles, and will begin shooting "Replacement Killers" opposite Mira Sorvino and Chow Yung-Pat.

Trejo has appeared in numerous television programs, including "Nash Bridges," "NYPD Blue," "Renegade" "Shannon's Deal," "Baywatch" and "The Young and the Restless." He also co-starred in Showtime's "Attica."

An ardent supporter of several humanitarian organizations, Trejo is dedicated to a number of programs created to help rehabilitate drug-addicted teens, and to enlighten young people about the dangers of drug use and gang involvement.

JESSE BORREGO (Francisco Cindino) is a native of San Antonio, Texas where he studied theatre as a student at the Incarnate Word College, and later returned there to choreograph an adaptation of the ballet "Le Jeune Homme et La Morte." He also studied at the California Institute of the Arts.

Borrego has performed extensively in the theater, in such productions as "Woyzeck," in which he starred in the title role at the Public Theatre. His other stage credits include "Green Card" at the Mark Taper Forum; "'Tis Pity She's a Whore" at Chicago's Goodman Theatre: "Cymbeline" and "American Notes" at The Public Theatre; "Windows" at the Williamstown Theater Festival; and two plays at the Guthrie Theatre: "The Screens" and "Leon, Lena & Lenz." He is a member of the Tribal Players, which performed an ensemble adaptation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet."

Borrego's feature film credits include roles in "The Maker," "Retroactive," "Follow Me Home," "Lone Star," "I Like It Like That," "Mi Vida Loca," "Bound By Honor," "Welcome Bienvenido" and "New York Stories."

Borrego appeared in a recurring role on ABC's "Under Cover," and guest starred on numerous series, including "Chicago Hope," "China Beach," "Married ... With Children," "Miami Vice" and "Midnight Caller." Early in his career Borrego starred as Jesse Velasquez on the popular series "Fame."

NICK CHINLUND portrays Billy Bedlam, a notorious criminal caught up in the mid-air sky-jacking.

A talented actor with an impressive list of film, television and stage credits, Chinlund will soon be seen starring in the feature "A Brother's Kiss," a role he was directly responsible for creating because he commissioned a playwright to adapt stories of life in the ghetto. The piece became a critically acclaimed theatre production. The film version also stars Rosie Perez, Marisa Tomei, Michael Rapaport and Michael Raynor reprising his role as Chinlund's brother. Chinlund is currently starring in Walt Disney Pictures' live-action version of "Mr. Magoo."

Born and raised in East Harlem, Chinlund left the inner-city of New York to pursue athletics and education. A former basketball player, he was forced to stop playing in his freshman year at Brown University because of an injury. While studying history, he began taking acting classes and realized that he wanted to become an actor.

After graduating from Brown, Chinlund moved to Los Angeles where he starred in a number of critically acclaimed theater productions including "Maps for Drowners," "A View from the Bridge," "Partners" and "Street Scene." From 1988-1989, he worked at the Williamstown Theater Festival, where he performed in numerous productions including "Mother Courage," "The Legend of Oedipus," "The American Clock" and Shakespeare's "Henry IV." Additional theater credits include roles off-Broadway in "Owl's Breath," "Brothers, Mothers, & Others," and "Corner Boys."

Chinlund's motion picture credits include "Lethal Weapon 3," with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and "Eraser," with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He will also be seen co-starring as sculptor/sketch artist Frederick Remington in "Rough Riders," TNT's upcoming film about the Spanish American War. He also made a special guest appearances on "The X-Files" and appeared on "NYPD Blue."

Chinlund lives in New York and Los Angeles.

ANGELA FEATHERSTONE (Ginny) has captivated audiences and impressed critics with her memorable performances in such feature films as "Illtown," "Dark Angel" and "Army of Darkness." She will soon be seen starring with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in "The Wedding Singer" for New Line. In addition, Featherstone recently starred for director Volker Schlondorff in Castle Rock's "Palmetto," as well as director Jake Kasdan's "Zero Effect," starring opposite Ben Stiller with Bill Pullman, also for Castle Rock.

On television the beautiful actress has graced numerous sitcoms, episodics and movies-of-the-week, with recurring roles on "Friends," "New York Undercover" and "Northern Exposure."

Featherstone has also starred in a long list of theatrical productions including "Fool for Love," "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof" in which she played Maggie, "Hurlyburly," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" "The Glass Menagerie" as Laura, and as Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet."

JOSE ZUNIGA (Sims) has appeared in a long list of motion pictures as well as stage productions. His feature film credits include "Ransom," "Striptease," "Stonewall," "Blue in the Face," "Smoke," "Fresh," "Crooklyn" and "Alive."

Television audiences are familiar with Zuniga's guest starring roles on a variety of episodic programs including "Prince Street," "Mad About You," "New York Undercover," "The Cosby Mysteries," "NYPD Blue," "The Good Policeman" and "Law & Order."

Zuniga's theatre credits include "Veins & Thumbtacks" and "A Joke Luigi Pirandello" for the Malaparte Theatre Company of which he is a founding member, The Yale Repertory Theatre's production of "Search and Destroy," and the Harold Clurman Theatre production of "Blessed Memory."

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