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The Con Air director accidentally imprisoned Steve Buscemi for real

Con Air director Simon West told The Digital Fix he accidentally locked in Steve Buscemi for real while making his cult action movie.

Steve Buscemi in Con Air

On busy work days, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks; we all know that. Just ask Simon West, the director of Con Air; he was so busy making one of the best action movies (if not one of the best movies) ever made, that he completely forgot one of his lead actors, Steve Buscemi, was chained up on set.


“[Buscemi] is great. He’s the nicest, easiest guy in the world,” West told The Digital Fix. “You know I had the costume designers make this outfit to strap him in. I wanted a leather mask, and I wanted it all a bit old school. So it’s all leather. It’s not like high tech.”

“It was really uncomfortable,” he continued. “So we shot the scene of him being dragged into the plane and put in the cell. So we got that with him just looking with those eyes, and we’re like, ‘great, now we’ll move on to the next scene. So I set up, I started shooting with other actors, and after about 20 minutes, I realised, ‘Oh, shit, we never let Steve out of the cage.'”

“He’s still in there like, and he can’t say anything,” West laughed. “He’s still got his mask on, but he never started banging on the door. I went back in and let him out. I’m going ‘sorry, Steve, I completely forgot you’. He said, ‘Oh, it’s OK’. The poor guy was in those restraints for way longer than the scene.”

To be fair to West, it was his first movie, so we can probably forgive him just like Buscemi did. During the same interview, West told us a little of the secret of Con Air’s success, and it didn’t involve leaving his cast chained up; it was that he didn’t take the film too seriously.

“It’s all tongue in cheek and not to be taken seriously,” he told us. “Nobody on it took it that seriously. I mean John Malkovich with a pump, action shotgun shooting away. It’s ridiculous. Everybody on it realised that.”

If you like the subversive side of Con Air, check out our list of the best comedy movies. Or if you just like good thrills, well, you’ll love our thriller movie guide.