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LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD

About The Production
LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD eschews computer generated fantasy for practical action set pieces. John McClane's sardonic sense of humor always feels genuine and relatable. And, most importantly, the film is character-driven, anchored by one of pop culture's toughest yet most endearing everyman heroes.

Keeping it real was never far from Bruce Willis' mind as he contemplated returning to the character that helped redefine cinema action heroes. "One of the most exciting things about playing McClane is that he's definitely not a superhero,” says Willis. "He has no special powers or abilities. He's a regular guy to whom anybody can relate. While we're always pushing the envelope to create great action sequences, I think it is McClane's relatability and sense of humor that really draws in people.

"Over the years, there'd been talk about a new Die Hard picture but nothing really gelled for me until we came up with the angle of the two things most important to McClane being threatened,” Willis continues. "McClane loves his family and his country, above all, and he despises anyone who preys on people who cannot defend themselves. This was a fresh take on the character, but it always stayed true to his nature. The stakes are higher now for McClane but he's still the regular guy unexpectedly confronted with some very irregular circumstances.”

Willis notes that the stakes were higher for him. "I'm a gambling man by nature, and I wanted to see if we could meet the challenge of creating a great story,” he points out. "I really wanted to live up to the first Die Hard. I gave a lot of thought to that.”

Mark Bomback's screenplay, based on a story by Bomback and David Marconi, had drawn Willis' interest, but he didn't fully commit to the project until director Len Wiseman joined the project. Willis had watched Wiseman's thriller, Underworld: Evolution, which impressed Willis with its singular vision. "I was completely sucked into Len's film,” Willis remembers. "You could tell somebody was definitely steering the ship because the world of the film never deviated. I thought Len could bring a lot to a new Die Hard film – and he did.”

Wiseman taking the reins of LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD seemed like a prophecy fulfilled: As a high school student, he made a Die Hard-inspired "movie” with some friends. "I love Die Hard,” Wiseman recalls. "I was especially drawn to McClane's vulnerability. He's a guy who has been thrust into an unexpected situation, and he's none too happy about it. Anyone can relate to that.”

Wiseman's take on the character and story was critical in shaping LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. Simply put, he wanted to be true to McClane. Wiseman recalls one instance in an early script draft of an unlikely McClane moment that needed a course correction. "There was a scene where McClane walks into a police station and asks, ‘What can I do to help?' And I said, ‘McClane doesn't offer to help – ever.' Bruce sparked to that.”

Wiseman, while intent on LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD staying true to John McClane, worked with Willis and Bomback to create additional nuances for the character. "I wanted to explore another level of McClane as he faces new challenges,” says the director. "How would he react if his daughter is threatened? What kind of effect does being a hero – even a reluctant one – have on your family and relationships? In this film, McClane is out of his element more than ever,” Wiseman continues. "This is the ultimate McClane-esque scenario because he's an old-school cop who finds himself up against a new kind of tech-savvy villain.”

Willis also wanted to make sure the script didn't ignore the passage of time. "We don't pretend that McClane is the same guy he was in the original Die Hard,” he says. "Obviously, he's older – his daughter Lucy, whom we met as a child in the first film, is now a col

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