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The Las Vegas ''Con Air'' premier

Nicholas Cage and John Malkovich were some of the actors at the event

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What is it with Nicolas Cage and Las Vegas? The actor had a Honeymoon there, won an Oscar for Leaving it, and showed up June 2 to party on the town. Cage and wife Patricia Arquette joined Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Joely Fisher, Peter Strauss, and others on the well-lighted Strip for the premiere of Con Air. Why there? Because Cage’s action flick, about a group of prisoners who hijack a plane, stages its explosive finale guess where. (Most conspicuous absentees: Air costars John Cusack and John Malkovich, who couldn’t make it because they were both filming.) ”Whoa, flashback!” said Air’s Rhames as he deplaned the L.A. charter among helicopters, police escorts, and a convoy of Hummers, all waiting to transport the cast to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. After the screening and a party at an adjoining tent, the guests anted up at the hotel. Wanting a piece of the action, but not a piece of the price, Fisher joked, ”Can’t I gamble with my charm instead of money?” (Answer: No.) Fame didn’t win Buscemi any pit-boss favors, either. ”Right, I’m an actor,” he laughed when the craps-table stick man reminded him to keep his dice below the wood. ”I can’t be trusted.” Cage was willing to bet that his movie would take the pot. Mused the actor, ”Vegas has always been a winning city for me.” Nevertheless, he wasn’t seen making a wager all night.

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