Jason Isaacs lost out on role in Con Air after freaking out over real gun

The role of Cyrus 'The Virus' Grissom in the 1997 thriller went to John Malkovich instead.

Jason Isaacs has revealed he lost out on being cast as the villain in Con Air after he freaked out about handling a real gun at his audition.

The 57-year-old actor is well known for playing big-screen antagonists, including Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter saga, however, he has confessed his regret at missing out on landing the role of Cyrus 'The Virus' Grissom in the 1997 classic.

And Isaacs believes it was an incident during an audition that cost him the job.

"I remember, at this audition, I went in. There's a guy who's operating a camera. He's pointing at you. You go to read the scene, and the scene was the character holding somebody up with a gun," he told Collider. "So, I grabbed a pencil and I said, 'I'll use a pencil as a gun.' The camera assistant, operating the camera, went, 'Hold on. Hold on a second. Here, grab that,' and held out a gun to me."

"I s**t myself, obviously," Isaacs laughed. "My voice shot up three octaves. I went all Jerry Lewis, and I went, 'Oh, my God! It's a real gun!' I remember Simon being as wide-eyed as I was. He'd been working with this guy for however long and didn't know he had a gun tucked in his belt."

John Malkovich was cast as the criminal mastermind in Simon West's thriller opposite Nicolas Cage and John Cusack, and Isaacs joked that he didn't understand why Malkovich had got the job instead.

"Didn't get the part; I'm not sure that was the reason why," he quipped. "(Simon) very oddly made the decision to give the part to John Malkovich instead."

Isaacs recently reunited with West for the disaster movie Skyfire.

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