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Four Actors Turned Down The Role Of John McClane in Die Hard... Thank God

Four Actors Turned Down The Role Of John McClane in Die Hard... Thank God

(With Alan Rickman's help, of course).

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie

In his 62 years on this planet, Bruce Willis has graced the screen dozens of times and won plenty of awards, including two Emmys, four Saturns and a Golden Globe.

He even won Maxim magazine's 1994 award for the best sex scene in movie history for his on-screen loving in Color of Night. You can be forgiven for not knowing that.

Bruce is a moneymaking machine - with the films featuring him collectively grossing between US $2.64-3.05 billion in North America alone. Those figures put him as the ninth highest grossing actor in a lead role.

He's appeared in some mega blockbusters including Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, the film noir Sin City, the Sixth Sense, Armageddon and the Whole Nine Yards.

But without a doubt his most famous role, the one he will be remembered for eternity, is Die Hard.

"Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..."

The film, which was released in 1988, has had four following movies, but none, (other than perhaps Die Hard: With A Vengeance, living up to expectations. The original film is adapted from the 1979 book Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp.

In 2015, a deal was signed to make a Die Hard prequel set in 1979 with John McClane as a young New York City police officer. Apparently Bruce Willis will definitely star in the movie - it's not yet known what role he will play.

Pete Croatto from described the first Die Hard as: "...a perfect action movie in every detail, the kind of movie that makes your summer memorable." Rotten Tomatoes has the flick at 92 percent, which is pretty decent for an action movie.

For those uninitiated in the likes of Die Hard, I'll summarise: Bruce Willis is off-duty New York City police officer John McClane who takes on a crack team of Eurotrash terrorists in an LA skyscraper. His wife is taken hostage and it's also set around Christmas time so it has pretty much every ingredient for an epic movie. And Alan Rickman is an incredible bad guy.

Here's why it's an incredible movie...

John McClane is a badass motherfucker

Bruce is insanely good in the film and even sports a full head of hair. His character is loveable and he produces one of the best lines in action movie history, so much so it becomes his catchphrase in subsequent movies:

But it was fate which allowed Bruce Willis to take the role as Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Burt Reynolds and Richard Gere all turned it down. Can you imagine Richard Gere playing it? Fuck that!

Interestingly - due to all the bangs and explosions in the film, Bruce suffered two-thirds partial hearing loss in his left ear for the rest of time.

bruce, sylvester and arnold
bruce, sylvester and arnold

Credit: PA

Hans Gruber is one of the best movie villains of all time

Alan Rickman - may he rest in peace - stars as one of the coolest and most interesting movie villains ever: Hans Gruber.

Alan made Hans - in more ways than one. The character is epic. He pretends to be a hostage, he's witty and edgy and his death scene is up there with the best.

While I believe Alan Rickman was a fantastic actor - he didn't have to try too hard to put on that expression as he fell to his death. During filming the director told Alan they would drop him 25 feet onto a massive airbag on the count of three. But they dropped him on one to elicit genuine shock.

Like Bruce, Alan also wasn't the first choice of the movie studio to play Gruber - they actually wanted Sam Neill. Back in the 1980s, Sam was best known for playing bad guys like a spy in Reilly, Ace of Spies and hadn't yet starred in Jurassic Park. But when the director saw Alan on stage in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, he knew he had found his Hans Gruber.

It didn't kill the careers of Bruce or Alan

As we're well aware, Alan went on to many roles but one of his other defining characters was Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, as well as Sheriff George of Nottinghma in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. And we've mentioned some of the cool movies Bruce has been in before.

But before Bruce starred in Die Hard he tried his hand at singing and released a soul album titled The Return of Bruno. It didn't do too badly, in part because he had back up singing from the Temptations and Ruth Pointer from the Pointer Sisters. He released another album, 'If It Don't Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger' before he went back to what we love him for.

While he plays a bloody good action character, he has also tried his hand at comedy. He played the dad of one of Ross's girlfriends in the classic sitcom Friends and more recently appeared on Zach Galifianakis's show Between Two Ferns:

Credit: Funny Or Die

Something I also didn't know about Bruce until this week was he was the star of an animated series called Bruno the Kid. In the 1996 show, Bruno was an 11-year-old who was working as a secret agent. Bruce also sang the show's theme song, which you can check out here:

For any die-hard Bruce Willis fans (eh, see what I did there), he has a few films coming up in 2017, including Once Upon a Time in Venice, First Kill and Death Wish.

Hopefully he celebrates his birthday in a dirty white singlet while whistling Ode to Joy.

Credit: 20th Century Fox


Freude, schöner Götterfunken,

Tochter aus Elysium,

Wir betreten feuertrunken,

Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!

Deine Zauber binden wieder

Was die Mode streng geteilt;

Alle Menschen werden Brüder

Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Wem der große Wurf gelungen

Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;

Wer ein holdes Weib errungen

Mische seinen Jubel ein!

Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele

Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!

Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle

Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!

Freude trinken alle Wesen

An den Brüsten der Natur;

Alle Guten, alle Bösen

Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.

Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,

Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;

Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben

und der Cherub steht vor Gott.

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen

Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan

Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,

Freudig, wie ein Held zum siegen.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!

Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!

Brüder, über'm Sternenzelt

Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.

Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?

Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?

Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!

Über Sternen muß er wohnen.

Featured Image Credit: Fox Pictures

Topics: Bruce Willis, Die Hard