Yippi-Ki-Yi-Yay, Tuesdayers! It’s the holidays, which is everyone’s favorite time to watch Die Hard. Since we’re featuring the film in this month’s Loot Wear, we thought we’d get down and dirty with facts about everyone’s favorite Bruce Willis film:
1. Quite a bit of this movie was improvised between actors, as re-writes and edits were happening so frequently that sometimes the cast would just riff off one another. Most of those improvised lines made it into the final cut.
2. So, you know all those scenes with John McClane running barefoot through broken glass, climbing windows with his blood just a wreck all over? Well, those weren’t Willis’ actual feet but shoes that were designed to look like bare feet. In some scenes, you can actually see the bend of these shoes as he’s running and, well, to say it looks unnatural is an understatement.
3. John McTiernan, the film’s director, wanted the entire film to take place in one night. He said this was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a Shakespeare play that has the entire event of the piece taking place in one evening. Never thought a Die Hard film would be inspired by the classics, did you?
4. The incredible Alan Rickman almost passed up his shot to play the devious Hans Gruber despite it being his big film break. He was taken aback by the idea that his first on-screen role would be the villain, as he always saw himself as taking on other more fantasy-type movies and never guessed Die Hard would come calling. After some deliberation with his agent, Rickman took the role on and became an instant hit.
5. There were very few sharply negative reviews of Die Hard, but it was Roger Ebert that stood out the most. Hating some of the casting choices and stating they were pretty much useless and just used to pad the film out, he was rather vocal in his distaste. However, he ended up loving the subsequent sequels and furthering of the series made him change his tune pretty quick.
6. That elevator scene with the fireball? That was actually practical effects. Making a smaller scale elevator, effects coordinators rigged pyrotechnics with several different variances of speed and strength until ultimately coming up with the one they liked most. Can you imagine if your job was to build tiny elevators to set on fire?
7. McClane being a lefty isn’t a style choice. Bruce Willis is actually left-handed, so that meant that John became left-handed and weapons had to be built suitable for his lefty tendencies. I don’t even want to know how difficult it must’ve been to modify a Beretta for left-handed folks.
8. The film was actually darker in tone before John McTiernan took it over. He felt it was too intense and didn’t have enough lighter moments and that fans would have a harder time relating to McClane. Upon taking it over, he had the script punched up and softened to appeal to a wider audience.
9. For easily about twenty years, tourists weren’t allowed to take pictures outside of the Fox Plaza building in L.A. (AKA Nakatomi Plaza) and guards were often tasked simply with derailing the traveling photographers. This is the price you pay for using a real-world building in your movies!
10. Reginald VelJohnson said after appearing in the first two movies, his friends teased him constantly about Twinkies and would leave dozens upon dozens in his car for him to find. A cop who didn’t lock his car!? Come on, Carl!