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Feature: Die Hard 4.0

Opening page

A police car smashes into a helicopter! An SUV plummets down a lift shaft! Yes, it’s Die Hard 4.0! And star Bruce Willis loved every crash bang wallop moment of it…

Bruce Willis has a very simple reason for agreeing to return to the franchise that transformed him into an action icon. For him, he explains, his Die Hard persona John McClane still has plenty to offer cinema-goers, and he is keen for the appeal to reach a whole new generation of film fans. “I love this character, he is truly mythical,” Willis explains, obviously still hugely enthusiastic about a film series that spans almost two decades. “One of the cool things about Live Free or Die Hard [or Die Hard 4.0 if you happen to live anywhere other than the USA] is that the first one was made 20 years ago, so guys who grew up watching the film now have families of their own. Loads of guys come up to me and say ‘I’m so excited I can take my son and my daughter to see this film’. That is a terrific thing. I took a great leap of faith that people would still be really interested in this character, but they are.”

Although rolling out a fourth film in such a successful franchise may not seem like the biggest risk in the world, Willis explains that returning to play McClane was, in fact, an extremely difficult decision to make. After all, he has gone on to carve himself a hugely successful career as an actor adept in many genres, from thrillers like The Sixth Sense to comedies like The Whole Nine Yards, and he certainly didn’t want to be seen to be taking a back step. “I could have retired from the series undefeated, and gone out with just the three films,” he explains, before going on to reveal that it was the strength of the public’s love for Die Hard that made up his mind to revisit that world.

“During the years since the third film [1995’s Die Hard With A Vengeance] whenever I travelled around the world, I found that when word got out about a fourth Die Hard there was a great response. So I do know there is a huge audience waiting for this film, and you can be sure that I personally feel this one is at least as good as the first one – and maybe even better! We had a terrific crew who were all fans of the original film. Everyone who came to work on this film did so because they believed in it.”

And Willis is sure that it’s his character of John McClane, the everyman police detective who finds himself tackling highly-skilled technological terrorists, that has ensured the longevity of the franchise. “There is a mythology to Die Hard,” he explains. “John McClane loves his country, he loves his family and he will do anything to protect either. He will help anyone who’s in trouble, and he will put that person’s safety ahead of his own. He is what people identify with and respect, and he also rebels against authority and he’s got a sense of humour.” But have the past 20 years taken their toll on McClane, and can we realistically expect to see the same guy? “The character is the same; just older and a little crankier,” Willis laughs. “He’s a guy you see in a bar and want to have a couple of beers with. He does not take himself very seriously.”

by Adrienne Curtis

Raed the full interview and more on the movie in
Film Review (Jul)

Die Hard 4.0 © Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

Taken from
Film Review (Jul), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Jul)
#685, July 2007
ships from Jun 13 2007
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