Based on Patrick James Carson's award winning play "Elevator", which premiered in October 2011 at the Red Barn Theater of Tucson, Arizona.
Contrary to popular belief, the Elevator story in this film and the people trapped in it are entirely fictional. No such thing happened during 9/11. In reality, a small group of men got trapped in an elevator car but quickly broke through a sheet-rock wall into what was a public restroom within the building after which they ran away to escape the building, and several people were trapped in an elevator car on the first floor of one of the towers; promptly the car opened and everyone was able to get out before the buildings collapsed. The story in this film is highly dramatized and not based on any real person's experience in the elevators of the World Trade Center.
Sheen had expressed interest in having the film premiere at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival, on September 11th, but it was not completed in time.
Charlie Sheen openly questioned and promoted transparency in regards to the government's official account of 9/11. Sheen was labeled one of the first "celebrity truthers" as he helped to expose logical issues in the official story and 9/11 commission report. Charlie Sheen took place in a discussion about the evidence and facts of the events of 9/11 on a radio interview with Alex Jones on 2-24-11 in which he points out irregularities and his own personal issues with believing the official account of events.
In Carson's original play, Guzman's part was written as a Swedish tower worker played by local Tucson actor Bob Kovitz.
Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson, who lost his father in the 9/11 attacks, condemned the 9/11 film in an Instagram post, citing actor Charlie Sheen's history with the Truther movement. Although Davidson is notorious for using what many would consider blatantly cruel and offensive 9/11 humor as a coping mechanism on stage, he didn't like the way the film dramatized such a subject and hired an actor who spreads rumors about the attacks, and brought up his father's death (his father was a firefighter believed to have been killed somewhere in the Marriott Hotel near the World Trade Center). Although some people wholeheartedly agreed with Davidson, others online argued that the film handled the taboo subject of 9/11 very well, and that Sheen's status as a 9/11 conspiracy theorist should not determine his ability to act. Rebecca McNutt, a teenage author known for writing the 9/11 themed novella Bittersweet Symphony that same year, stated on Goodreads, "9/11 is not my tragedy - well, actually it is to some degree for reasons better not talked about, but it's not my tragedy alone to deal with and understand. It's everybody's tragedy, and I really don't feel like I necessarily have the right to condemn this film when there are people out there who actually lost parents and friends during 9/11, people far worse off than I am in terms of this disaster - but all the same, I can't pretend that it doesn't offend me, not that I'm saying it should be censored. If people really get enjoyment from it, it's not my duty to complain about something like that." IndieWire and The Wrap also posted articles on the 9/11 film, with headlines such as "Charlie Sheen Drama Is Beyond Offensive".
Was widely considered to be highly offensive and distasteful upon its release for a number of reasons, most notably its release date on the anniversary of 9/11 and its casting of Charlie Sheen, a self-proclaimed "9/11 truther" infamous for his conspiracy theory beliefs that the official story of the tragedy isn't the real one. Despite the film making these choices and becoming a notorious box office flop in 2017, the play it was adapted from, which went by the title "Elevator", was critically-acclaimed and won several awards.
Part of a string of feature films released about the September 11th in the sixteen years following the actual attacks, alongside the titles "Remember Me" (2010), "The Great New Wonderful" (2005), "Reign Over Me" (2007), "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (2011), "World Trade Center" (2006), "Diverted" (2009) and "United 93" (2006). Despite this film being a box office failure and being considered offensive by many viewers upon its release, it has since 2018 developed a small following and fan-base after being released for digital streaming via Netflix and Google and being uploaded to torrent pirate websites.
9/11 is the second full-length feature film of the September 11th Attacks to be adapted from a play. The first was a 2005 film titled "The Great New Wonderful", which was more successful upon its release but quickly faded into obscurity after its DVD release in 2006. Both films featured prominent actors and actresses.