Bruce Willis is John McClane and John McClane is one of the most revered movie action heroes of all time from one of the best action movies series of all time, Die Hard. So the thought of seeing some new actor attempt to take on the role of John McClane in the Die Hard movies is one that I frown upon and view with great suspicion and it is certainly a brave decision by the film producers. Yet, that is exactly what they are trying to do with the next iteration of the franchise, Die Hard: Year One (yes, the name certainly needs work).
Initial reports had suggested that Bruce Willis would be involved in the film by appearing in two scenes that introduce and close out the story of a younger John McClane. However when the Television Critics Association spoke with producer and director Len Wiseman (who directed the 2007 film, Live Free or Die Hard), he had the following to say about the upcoming film:
He will be more present than that. This character of course is modern day and the origin story if you can call it that has ramifications on present day McClane. What it’s not is it’s not a cameo bookend scenario. It’s a prequel/sequel hybrid that I really haven’t seen before and is incredibly different.
So the concept they are trying with the new film is to tell the origin story of John McClane and introduce you to a younger version of himself, something which I’m sure no one wanted or asked for, but we will get nonetheless. Its great to know that Bruce Willis will be playing more than just a minor role in the film, however, I’m not sure how they are going to get both the younger version and the older version to be in the same movie. Its a challenge that if they can pull it off and create a plot which combines the present and past John McClane in one combined narrative, it could indeed be interesting. One story they do want to tell in this movie, is that of his relationship with Holly, his wife from the first two movies who was originally played by Bonnie Bedella.
I also just really wondered what was the relationship. When did he first meet Holly? It’s actually the love story that has not been told.
So, its a love story – are they trying to turn this movie into a romantic drama instead of an action movie? And on the action front, the problem I see with telling this story is that John McClane was a complete unknown in the first movie and surely if he had performed something heroic, he would’ve developed a reputation. So the interesting challenge would be for them to create an engaging action situation in a movie that needs to be of a relatively low scale to ensure that John McClain remains an anonymous character, and yet somehow remain engaging:
For sure, because he can’t be the superhero. It’s a delicate balance of giving you a sense of what started McClane, because McClane when he comes into Die Hard 1 has a lot of emotional baggage, baggage in general more so than a lot of our other action characters in the sense that he’s already divorced. He’s got an incredible chip on his shoulder. He’s bitter. His captain hates him, doesn’t want him back in New York. What caused all that? Why was he already that guy?
Emotional baggage and a love story is not something I’m sure I want to see in a Die Hard movie, so I’m not sure this is going to work. Not only will the scale of the movie seem wrong, but there is just nothing about this that I want to know. I like knowing John McClane the way he currently is. Now what I really want to see is an origin story behind Hans Gruber – although I’m not sure I would want anyone else other than the majestic Alan Rickman to play this role.
What do you think – is this new approach to Die Hard something you would like to see?
Die Hard: Year One is in development at 20th Century Fox.
Last Updated: January 18, 2016