Die Hard prequel: Who should play young John McClane?

16 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Die Hard’ prequel will be sixth film in franchise.

The “Die Hard” film series continues to grow, with news that another installment — rumored to be titled “Die Hard, Year One” — will introduce the origin story of McClane and his days as a New York City cop.

EARLIER: The wheels have begun to slowly spin on Die Hard: Year One. 20th Century Fox is in negotiations with Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman to return to the series, a spokesperson told EW.Die Hard, released in 1988, launched Bruce Willis’ action movie career and the subsequent franchise vaulted his scrappy everyman hero John McClane into the pantheon of Hollywood action heroes. (20th Century Fox) Franchise-mad Hollywood is gearing up for a sixth film in the series, with Bruce Willis eyed to reprise his role as scrappy yet unbeatable everyman hero John McClane. As the only actor to consistently perform in every “Die Hard” movie since the first, Willis has certainly become one of the biggest power players in Hollywood. If a deal is struck, Wiseman would team up with Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura to develop the new installment of local cop/anti-terrorist specialist John McClane (Bruce Willis). He has endured an enviable acting career, with a resume that boasts movie titles such as “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” “Death Becomes Her,” “The Sixth Sense,” “Twelve Monkeys,” “Armageddon” and “Sin City.” She has performed in many television movies and television series such as the crime-drama “The Division” and Jason Katims’ (“Friday Night Lights”) comedy-drama production, “Parenthood.” Australian actor Jai Courtney appeared to be a relative newcomer to American audiences in 2013 when he starred as John McClane’s son, Jack McClane, in “A Good Day to Die Hard.” Recently, Courtney sealed his place in the upper levels of Hollywood with leading roles in the highly anticipated “Terminator Genisus” and “Suicide Squad” action movies.

There is no screenwriter attached or a script in place, but the current idea being floated about the new movie is reinvent the franchise and go back in time to show how McClane became McClane, in addition to having Willis still be involved. True, there hasn’t been a particularly good Die Hard film in 20 years, and recent efforts to jump-start the franchise have met with critical derision.

Four Die Hard sequels followed over the years, with the entire franchise grossing more than $1.4 billion US at the worldwide, according to tracking site Box Office Mojo. Willis has not officially signed on to the project, but Deadline reports that the Golden Globe winner, 60, has been kept in the loop at every stage of development.

Though the original Die Hard remains a fan favourite more than 25 years since its release, many fans are not shouting “yippee-ki-yay” at news of the new project. Reports of the death of Hollywood originality may be exaggerated—amid the explosion of superhero franchises, there have been plenty of strong non-sequels (The Martian, Inside Out, Trainwreck) atop the box office this year. Alongside another “Die Hard” franchise alum, Jai Courtney, she played the role of “Tori” in the crowd-pleasing “Divergent” and “Insurgent” movies of “The Divergent Series.” The thespian already locked lips with pop princess Britney Spears in the 2002 movie, “Crossroads,” and with actress Lindsay Lohan, in the 2005 movie, “Herbie Fully Loaded.” Long can be seen on the quirky Fox comedy, “New Girl,” as Paul Genzlinger and fondly remembered as the “Mac” in the Mac versus PC Apple commercials.

There are dozens of theories about what is inside the briefcase: an atomic bomb, the diamonds from “Reservoir Dogs” or even Marcellus Wallace’s soul taken from the back of his neck, a theory that explains the bandage. Online, fan reaction largely questioned why a prequel film was needed, with others noted the proposed “past-present” nature of the idea seemed reminiscent of action film Looper, which cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the same character at different time periods.

In his book “Questions for the Movie Answer Man,” Roger Ebert writes that Tarantino said many times that the briefcase contains “whatever you want it to contain.” The three times Vincent goes into the bathroom, the armed robbery at the diner happens, Mia overdoses on heroin and when he walks out of the bathroom he is shot and killed. They date back to the decision Eon Productions made in the late ’60s to replace a disgruntled Sean Connery as James Bond with first George Lazenby and then Roger Moore, setting a pattern for a series that more than 50 years in shows no sign of flagging. To get the right look for the shot where Travolta plunges the needle in, Tarantino actually filmed him removing the needle and then played it backwards for the final cut.

But Bond was an established literary character—he was Ian Fleming’s creature more than he was Connery’s, no matter how iconic the actor’s performance became. There is nothing else in the Die Hard franchise that feels particularly distinctive—the films are otherwise fairly standard cat-and-mouse thrillers between a lone-wolf hero and a new coterie of villains. The amount of references Tarantino make to movies that most American audiences haven’t seen is baffling, and “Pulp Fiction” might be the greatest example of that. There’s certainly a new young actor waiting to be scooped out of relative TV obscurity, just as Willis was decades ago; why saddle him (or her) with a role so deeply tied to another star?

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