Story Notes for Under Siege

Monday through Thursday, AMC presents Story Notes -- real-time on-air trivia about your favorite movies. Tonight's movie was Under Siege.
Biographical Notes

Steven Seagal fronts a blues band called Thunderbox.

As of February 2012, Under Siege is the only Steven Seagal movie to be nominated for an Oscar -- two, in fact.

Steven Seagal got the best reviews of his career for Under Siege. It remains his number one movie... to date.

Blooper Notes

The gas burners you see in the movie would never be used on a warship because of the risk of explosion.

The MP5 is actually a sub-machine gun, not an assault rifle.

Casting Notes

Captain Adams is played by Patrick O'Neal (The Way We Were). He served in the military himself.

Gary Busey appears in the film. At the time had just done Point Break (1991) and Predator 2 (1990).

Troy Evans served with the Infantry in Vietnam and played Frank the desk clerk on ER.

Sandy Ward (Calloway) played Logger Pete on Malcolm in the Middle (2000).

The actress who plays Jordan Tate (Erika Eleniak) actually was Playboy's Miss July '89.

Glenn Morshower (Taylor) was Landry's dad on Friday Night Lights and Aaron Pierce on 24.

Gary Busey received an Oscar nomination for his role in The Buddy Holly Story (1978). Recently, he's starred in several reality shows and played himself on Entourage (2004-2007).

Tom Wood (Private Nash) went on to appear in director Andrew Davis' next movie, The Fugitive ('93).

Andrew Davis is best known for The Fugitive, but he also directed Holes ('03) and The Guardian ('06).

Erika Eleniak (Jordan Tate) played the little girl that kisses Elliott in E.T.(1982). Just before Under Siege, she starred in the first 2 seasons of Baywatch (1989).

Right before Under Siege, Tommy Lee Jones was nominated for an Oscar for his role in JFK (1991). Right after Under Siege, he won an Oscar for The Fugitive (1993).

Director Andrew Davis also directed Seagal in his first movie, Above The Law (1988).

Raymond Cruz (on the left) played Detective Sanchez on The Closer and Tuco on Breaking Bad.

Colm Meaney stars in AMC's Hell On Wheels and appeared in two different versions of Star Trek.

Richard Jones (Pitt) has played three different characters on Walker, Texas Ranger.

Nick Mancuso (Breaker) was considered for the role of Indiana Jones.

Andy Romano (speaking) also played authority figures in The Fugitive ('93) and Eraser ('96).

Former Marine Dale Dye (Garza) often works on movies as a military adviser and an actor. He played Colonel Sink in Band of Brothers (2001) and Frank Barnes in Mission: Impossible (1996).

Dennis Lipscomb was in WarGames (1983) and A Soldier's Story (1984).

Historical Notes

President George H.W. Bush visited the Missouri in 1991 to mark the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. It was the first time a President had been on board since Harry Truman visited in 1947.

The Seals, established in 1962 by President Kennedy, are considered the most elite fighters in the military.

Tomahawk missiles had only been used by the U.S. for one year when Under Siege was released in 1992.

Grappling hooks originated in Naval warfare to catch the rigging of an enemy ship so it could be boarded.

Something like this happened in 1968, when the USS Pueblo was seized by North Korea. The crew was held hostage for eleven months. To this day, the ship is still being held by North Korea.

This radio chatter is from an actual F-14 mission that brought down two Libyan MiGs in 1989.

The development of radar-guided missiles was started by Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1945.

The real Seal Team 5 has eight active platoons that focus on the Northern Pacific Ocean area. They also snuck into Kuwait in 1990 and carried out many successful missions during the Gulf War.

Location Notes

This is San Francisco Bay, where the Navy operated Naval Air Station Alameda until 1997.

Pop Culture Notes

Under Siege is the first Steven Seagal movie in which Seagal's character is not a cop. In real life, Seagal is actually a deputy sheriff.

Other chefs skilled in the martial arts: Jackie Chan in Mr. Nice Guy and Stephen Chow in God of Cookery.

Prop Note

The Stinger surface-to-air missile used in the movies shot down 270 aircraft in the Afghan War.

Stranix uses a Heckler & Koch P7M8, used by Brad and Angelina in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Quotation Notes

Director Andrew Davis says Under Siege is "Robin Hood. It's hope for the little guy."

Seagal says his character is "a reluctant hero." "I can hurt you, but I'd rather not, so let me just cook."

Gary Busey: "There has got to be more to life than being a really, really, ridiculously good actor."

Seagal says people love action movies because "they love to see justice served."

Producer Jack Bernstein says it was hard to "make the ship appear at sea when it was really in a bay."

Steven Seagal: "I do feel responsible for doing action films that contain any kind of violence but it's always been defensive. It's always been to defend what's right."

Random Note

One of the themes of Under Siege is the idea of blowback: By creating killing machines, we are giving them the opportunity to be used against us.

Script Note

Seagal did some uncredited rewrites to the script, he says he wanted to be a screenwriter before Hollywood put him in front of the camera.

Set Notes

Filming actually took place on the USS Alabama instead of the Missouri. The ships are similar, but producers took a few guns off the Alabama to make it look more like the Missouri.

The USS Alabama (doubling for the Missouri) was actually docked in Mobile Bay, AL while shooting. The crew constructed giant black sheets to drape behind it to block the Mobile skyline from view.

Dir. Andrew Davis set this "war room" up to resemble the one in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove ('64).

Seagal likes to base his fight scenes on plausible situations. That's why most of his fights are hand-to-hand combat and he doesn't do wire work.

The crew got shots of the ship by putting the cameras and lights on separate floating barges.

Trivia Notes

Under Siege, which was released in 1992 is Steven Segal's most successful and popular movie. It grossed over $150 million and transformed Seagal into an international movie star.

Harrison Ford allegedly signed on for The Fugitive right after watching Under Siege for the first time.

One key element of Seagal's Aikido style of fighting is using an enemy's own strength against him.

There is an actual "red phone" in the Pentagon, but it's only connected to the Russian government in Moscow.

"Krill" is also a shrimp-like sea creature, one of the lowest members of the food chain.

At one point, Iowa class warships like the USS Missouri had the world's largest nuclear artillery

The 16" Mark 6 Naval guns featured in the film have been used since 1941 and shoot up to 35,000 yards.

"It's Not Just a Job. It's an Adventure" is the Navy's longest running slogan, used from 1976 to 1996

Steven Seagal got his start in Hollywood as an Aikido martial arts instructor. Steven Seagal's fighting style, Aikido, incorporates a lot of knife skills. He's a 7th degree black belt and once trained Sean Connery for the Bond movie Never Say Never Again ('83).

The USS Missouri earned the nickname "Mighty Mo" because of its powerful weapons arsenal.

Bouillabaisse is a traditional Proven├žal fish stew, originally from Marseille, France.

Seagal doesn't have his signature ponytail in Under Siege. The Navy doesn't allow hair to be longer than four inches.

It would be pretty difficult to take the whole ship hostage. The USS Missouri had a crew of 1,851.

The foc'sle, or forecastle, is the front upper deck of a ship.

In the Navy, living quarters are called "berthing areas."

In the Navy, a typical watch is only about four hours long.

The Marine Corps is technically part of the Navy, so that's why Marines would be on board a Navy ship. The Marines were first established in 1775 to support the thirteen colonies during the American Revolution.

A "reefer" is slang for what a truck driver calls his load if it's refrigerated.

Under Siege's score was composed by Gary Chang (Double Team, The Island of Dr. Moreau).

"Helo" is a shorter way of saying helicopter.

The average Tomahawk costs about $600,000, so Stranix is holding over $19 million worth of missiles.

The original title for Under Siege was Dreadnought, which is a term for a battleship.

The North Korean submarine seen in the film is actually the USS Drum.

Under Siege writer J.F. Lawton wrote the original script for Pretty Woman ('90). He called it $3,000.

To be classified as a "ship" in the Navy, a vessel has to be at least 500 feet long. The Missouri is 887.2 ft.

Warner Brothers wanted Steven Seagal to be the next Clint Eastwood, They even pushed him to take roles that were intended for Eastwood at the time.

Morse code was first used by the Navy in 1910.

Ryback takes out about 30 bad guys in this movie.

Making improvised explosives is just one way that a Navy Seal can adapt to his surroundings.

Steven Seagal claims to have carried out covert missions for the CIA before his Hollywood days.

Although Steven Seagal is the only actor on the poster, he's actually only in the movie for 41 minutes.