Top 10... - December 24, 2015

10 Things You Didn't Know About... Die Hard
by Tom
Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

10 Things You Didn't Know About... Die Hard

Even though it isn't what you would traditionally describe as a 'Christmas film', Die Hard is of course set during the festive season and is arguably one of the best Christmas films ever made.

The franchise has spawned five films already - with a sixth in the works – and needs little introduction, but did you know that the role of of John McClane was initially offered to an ageing Frank Sinatra?

We went digging and discovered this and some other things you may not know about the Die Hard films...



The script for the first Die Hard movie dates back to the 1960s and was originally intended as a sequel...

The story behind Die Hard is based on a novel named Nothing Lasts Forever by American author Roderick Thorp, which was written as a sequel to one of his earlier novels, The Detective. The latter was adapted into a film in 1968 - starring none other than Frank Sinatra – and although it was another 20 years before they started filming the sequel under a different title, a clause in Sinatra's contract for The Detective meant that the producers were legally obliged to offer the role of John McClane to him first. He was 77 at the time and turned it down.

 

Not only was Bruce Willis not first the choice for the role, he wasn't even in the top five...

Sinatra aside, the role of John McClane was offered to several actors before Willis, who had never done action films before and was considered a comedy actor. The list of actors who reportedly turned the role down includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Miami Vice's Don Johnson and even the star of 80s TV show MacGuyver, Richard Dean Anderson.

 

The Nakatomi Plaza building from Die Hard is actually the headquarters of 20th Century Fox...

The building, whose real name is Fox Plaza, was still unfinished at the time and Fox reportedly charged themselves rent to use the building for the film's setting. Among other things, this meant that director John McTiernan had to keep running downstairs to apologise for all the gunfire.

 

Bruce Willis is partially deaf as a result of making Die Hard...

Speaking of gunfire, the scene in which McClane shoots one of the terrorists from underneath a desk left the actor with permanent damage to his hearing thanks to the proximity of the gun to his head, as well as the extra-loud blanks the crew insisted on using for the scene.

 

The teddy bear Jon McLane takes home for his son also appears in The Hunt for Red October...

If you've ever watched the scene at the end of The Hunt for Red October and found yourself thinking 'that teddy bear looks familiar', you'd be right; the stuffed toy that John McClane takes home for his kids at the end of Die Hard belonged to John McTiernan and is the very same bear that Jack Ryan takes home for his daughter at the end of The Hunt for Red October, which was also directed by McTiernan.

 

The film's most famous line was a thrown in by Willis as a joke to make the crew laugh...

The immortal words “Yippee-Kay-Yay Motherf***er” have featured in every single Die Hard movie and have become the franchise's unofficial catchphrase, but the line wasn't even in the script. In an interview with Ryan Seacrest in 2011, Bruce Willis admitted that he threw the line in as a throwaway purely to make the crew laugh, thinking there was no way it would make the final edit, but McTiernan liked it and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

It turns out that 'Die Hard' doesn't translate well into other languages...

Come to think of it, it doesn't even make a huge amount of sense in English either, but the film has had a number of different titles in other territories. In Serbia, the film went under the title Die Manly, while in Spain they took a different approach and called it The Crystal Jungle. The Polish took a similar tack and named the film The Glass Trap, while Russia went with A Hard Nut To Crack. By far the most baffling though was the Hungarian version, which they called Give Your Life Expensive. No, we don't get it either.

 

Those German terrorists aren't really speaking German...

Well, not exactly. It's probably more accurate to say that their German was so bad that none of their dialogue actually makes any sense. In fact, when the film was exported to Germany, they were so embarrassed that they re-wrote the characters so that they supposedly hailed from an unspecified European country, changing Hans Gruber's name to the more Irish-sounding Jack Gruber.

 

Fox were sued by Black & Decker because of one of the scenes in Die Hard 2...

Yep, you read that correctly; toolmakers Black & Decker sued Fox for $150,000 as the result of a product placement deal in which the studio guaranteed that John McClane would appear in a scene using one of their cordless drills. Although the scene was actually filmed, the toolmakers sued when it emerged that the scene had ended up on cutting room floor, presumably either because director Renny Harlin either wasn't aware of the deal, or didn't see the need for a scene in which McClane is doing a spot of DIY.

 

Reginald VelJohnson actually hates Twinkies...

Actor Reginald VelJohnson, who famously appears in Die Hard carrying an armful of Twinkies, actually isn't a fan of the sugar-filled snacks. That may be partly down to the fact that he had to endure years of people offering him Twinkies as a result of his role in the film, with some fans even launching them through the open window of his car while he was driving.

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