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About The Cast And Characters
Port Authority Sergeant John McLoughlin, a 21-year veteran of the Port Authority Police Department, was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Long Island, New York. He attended Oswego State College, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. During college, he interned at a bank and upon graduation, he worked in the firm's management trainee program.

McLoughlin moved up through the ranks, but at the same time, he joined the Massapequa volunteer fire department, where his brother, Pat, already served. "We were fairly active for a volunteer fire department and I found it more interesting than banking,” says McLoughlin. "After five years at the bank, I felt like I was in a rut. My brother was also a Port Authority cop, so I ended up taking a test for that; it was now or never to make a career move. I was 27, which actually was fairly old for the academy; most of the guys are 21, 22, 23. I never looked back, never regretted having done it.”

McLoughlin spent three years at the Port Authority Bus Terminal before being transferred to the World Trade Center, where he spent 12 years and made sergeant. As a regular cop on duty, he was as familiar with the building as anyone was when terrorists bombed the building in 1993. Alongside his fellow officers, he helped evacuate and attend to the wounded; he would receive a commendation for his work there.

After the 1993 bombing, McLoughlin applied for and received a Trade Center position that would lead to his unique knowledge of and relationship with the Towers: Post Nine – subgrade control – a position that included responsibility for the towers' emergency equipment. McLoughlin was in charge of keeping the gear maintained, tested, and in good working order.

McLoughlin took that responsibility seriously and went several steps further than required; his background in fire fighting combined with a fix-it mentality led him to completely redesign the safety and emergency protocols within the Trade Center. In addition, he began to take classes with the Emergency Service Unit, a specialized division of the Port Authority trained to handle a variety of catastrophic events, from hazardous materials to bridge-and-water rescue to tactical operations. Eventually, McLoughlin worked with the FBI, the Secret Service, and the Trade Center to design procedures to deal with chemical and biological agents. Because terrorists had attacked the Trade Center once, McLoughlin was convinced that it was a viable target and could be hit again.

Transferring back to the Bus Terminal, McLoughlin hoped that he would end his career as an Emergency Services Supervisor. "But then, 9/11 happened,” he says.

When it came time to cast the film, according to Shamberg, Stone looked for actors who were not only physically right for their parts but could deliver the emotional truths behind their lines. "Oliver made instinctive decisions as to who captured the essence of the people and his instincts were right every time,” Shamberg says. "For each part, we got our first choice – all the actors had a deep respect for the project and wanted to be involved.”

To play the tall, laconic, straightforward McLoughlin, a man who conveys the grit and integrity that made him a good cop, Stone called upon Academy Award®-winner Nicolas Cage. Though the actor is well known for his scene-stealing volatility, Stone felt that Cage could project McLoughlin's steely grace and calm – and the opportunity to see Cage play "against type” interested the director.

"Nic is an actor known for taking chances,” says Stone. "He has proven to be a master of characters with fractured consciousnesses and his performances, in that realm and others, really impressed me through the years. He is a highly cultivated actor with a lot of sophistication and polish. I think he deliv

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