The original DIE HARD celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, making everyone look back on the iconic action classic and the sequels it spawned. We’ve gotten five movies in total, and a sixth one, DIE HARD: YEAR ONE, is slowly but surely making its way to us. Director Len Wiseman (LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD) was on hand recently to talk about the flick, offering some updates on where they’re at in the production phase.
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Wiseman was at the Fox party for the Television Critics Association given his involvement in the X-Men show THE GIFTED, and /Film was able to ask him some questions about the movie, which will star Bruce Willis as John McClane and feature flashbacks to his younger self in the 70’s. He assures the movie is moving along, but he won’t know for sure when until the script it just right.
Die Hard’s going to be happening fairly soon. No dates. I’ve been asked about dates before and I’m always wrong. The date is when the script is right which is when we all want to go. The script has taken quite a long time. I want it to be right, as everybody does. The truth is we started prepping Live Free or Die Hard when the script was not ready. That process of working on the script as we were shooting the movie is not the funnest thing in the world to do. We pulled it together but nobody wants to go through that again.
This process of “greenlight first, write later” is something the studios did often back in the early aughts, but Wiseman believes studios are wisening up to the idea that maybe it’s better to have the script done first before they start shooting.
I think it’s also more so than any other time, [the script]’s very important. We’ve seen it all. We’ve seen a lot. I think even, say, 10 years ago, I think studios in general were a little bit more willing to put movies like that, franchise movies into production with a sense of ‘we’ll continue to work on the script.’ I think that attitude has changed.
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As for the young McClane, Wiseman said the movie will indeed go back and forth between the past and modern day, meaning there will be plenty of Willis – a good sign for anyone fearing he would only be marginally featured.
The core idea has not [changed] at all. It’s still working in parallel, cutting back and forth, what we see in the ‘70s has ramifications on present-day Bruce. That hasn’t changed at all.
Willis will have a hand in casting the man who will play his younger self, Wiseman said, and the director also says there will indeed be a young Holly Gennero, (played by Bonnie Bedelia in the series). “There is [a young Holly],” Wiseman said. “I will tell you there is.”
So it seems are going along smoothly, and that the team is taking their time to get it just right. The idea that it could be a more emotionally-centric movie, focusing on the early years between McClane and his wife is an exciting possibility. What makes the character of McClane so compelling, and in turn, the original DIE HARD is that he’s a damaged man going through a divorce. How that gets explored in the sixth movie, with flashbacks to the 70s, sounds like a refreshing way to approach the long-running series…especially after the non-movie that is A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD.