Die Hard Week: 50 things you probably didn't know about Die Hard


11th February 2013

Actors who were considered for the role of John McClane include...

"I just want my motherfucking family back."

Die Hard With A Vengeance was adapted from original story Simon Says by writer Jonathan Hensleigh. According to Hensleigh, Samuel L Jackson's character Zeus was written as a woman, but the first hour of the movie is almost "word for word" his script, save for the character names.

Simon Says was earmarked to become a Lethal Weapon sequel before it became Die Hard With A Vengeance. This is notable because Mel Gibson was offered the role of John McClane before it finally went to Bruce Willis.

When the third Die Hard movie was in its infancy, it was to be based on a spec script called Troubleshooter, which saw terrorists take over a Caribbean cruise ship. It was ditched after Steven Seagal's similar action epic Under Siege was released, and all the writers killed themselves because they could never hope to write a film as good.

Actors who were considered for the role of John McClane include...

"Hurr noshyutt lady do uhh suhnnd like ahm orderrn hurr fuckin pizza? Y'know?"

Another unused plot for Die Hard 3 eventually ended up being used for Speed 2: Cruise Control. John McTiernan apparently rejected the idea of "doing it on a boat". Hurr. Hurr hurr. "Doing it".

In 1993, John Fasano wrote a treatment for Die Hard 3 which saw John McClane go up against terrorists who had hijacked LA's subway system. Bruce Willis rejected it, because he's Bruce Willis.

Laurence 'Don't call me Larry' Fishburne was the first choice to play Zeus Carver, but turned it down. Ironically, Samuel L Jackson turned up to his Pulp Fiction audition and was told by one of the producers: "We love your work, Mr Fishburne."

After finishing the script, writer Jonathan Hensleigh was detained by the FBI who were curious as to how he knew the ins and outs of the Federal Reserve in downtown Manhattan. Hensleigh simply replied he'd read about it in the New York Times. Thank goodness the real FBI aren't total idiots like they are portrayed in the Die Hard movies, huh?

Actors who were considered for the role of John McClane include...

Ho ho ho: now he has a paperclip, bubblegum and some baking soda.

Actress Sam Phillips, who plays bad girl Katya, began her career as a singer of contemporary Christian music. In case you missed her role in Die Hard With A Vengeance, she brutally slits a guy's throat with a karambit knife, shoots her terrorist boyfriend in the head, then fucks Jeremy Irons.

Sean Connery was the first choice to play Simon Gruber, but didn't fancy playing a villain (that role in The Avengers just spoke to him, man). David Thewlis was next in line for Grubes Junior but was ultimately replaced by Jeremy Irons, who'd just won an Oscar, don't you know.

Initially, nervy studio executives requested that Hensleigh removed the scene in which John McClane is forced to wear a sandwich board that reads "I HATE NIGGERS" in Harlem. Hensleigh refused and threatened to take his script elsewhere until they relented. The TV edit for Die Hard With A Vengeance replaces the offending N-word with "EVERYBODY". Oh my God, that guy's crazy, he hates everybody!

The alternate ending to Die Hard With A Vengeance sees John McClane play rocket launcher chicken with Simon Gruber, which is totally a thing. It's not very good, you can watch it below.

Die Hard 4.0 - known as Live Free Or Die Hard in the States - started life as a story called WW3.com and was based on a Wired article by John Carlin called 'Farewell To Arms'. This means A Good Day To Die Hard is the first movie in the series to be written as a Die Hard movie from the ground up.

Among the working titles for Die Hard 4 were Die Hard: Reset, Die Hard: Die Hardest and Die Hard: Tears Of The Sun. Despite the fact it makes absolutely no sense in context, Bruce Willis agreed to sign on for Die Hard 4 but only if he could nick the subtitle Tears Of The Sun for his war movie.

Hated Justin Long's hacker dweeb? Things could have been worse: early drafts of Die Hard 4.0 featured John McClane's son as well as his daughter, and both Justin Timberlake and Jessica Simpson showed interest in the roles. That's pre-Social Network Justin Timberlake. And Jessica Simpson.

Britney Spears apparently also displayed an interest in playing John McClane's daughter, even going as far as shaving her head and getting into the spirit of things by threatening to beat up a paparazzi with an umbrella. Just my little joke. But she was attached to the role at one point.

Die Hard 4.0 director Len Wiseman is physically incapable of making a movie without his wife, Kate Beckinsale. Unable to cast her as Lucy McClane or Maggie Q's "Asian hooker bitch", he instead spliced one frame of her into the opening credits. (*pussy-whip noise*)

Actors who were considered for the role of John McClane include...

He will slap the evil out of you.

A shot of Thomas Gabriel's file on John McClane reveals his birthday to be May 23rd, 1955. This is the day in history when the Presbyterian Church began accepting female ministers, which explains John's delightful attitude towards women in Die Hard 4.0 (see "Asian hooker bitch", above).

Die Hard 4.0 is the only Die Hard movie that makes no reference to the events of the first movie, previously referred to as "the Nakatomi situation" and "that thing in LA". Incidentally, in the film, Nakatomi Tower is 35 storeys high, but in real life, Fox Plaza only has 27 floors. Count 'em.

In Die Hard 4.0, John McClane picks up one of Matt Farrell's G.I. Joe toys and mocks the hacker's affinity for playing with action men. Little did he know that just five years later, Bruce Willis would be playing the original G.I. Joe in Jon Chu's movie sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Among those to audition for the role of Jack McClane, John McClane's son in A Good Day To Die Hard, were Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, Ben Foster, Paul Dano, Liam Hemsworth, Paul Walker, Shiloh Fernandez, Steven McQueen, James Badge Dale and Milo Ventimiglia.

As well as being the actress who plays Holly Gennero/McClane, Bonnie Bedelia is Macaulay Culkin's aunt, which is why Home Alone is often called 'Die Hard in a House with a Kid'.

Yippee-Ki-Yay! This week on TheShiznit.co.uk is Die Hard Week, with A Good Day To Die Hard in cinemas on Thursday 14th February. Also available as a Brucey bonus is the Die Hard Quadrilogy 25th Anniversary Blu-ray boxset.  

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