2013’s A Good Day to Die Hard a.k.a. Die Hard 5 wasn’t a good movie, but it was a profitable one. On a $90 million budget it managed to rake in over $300 million worldwide despite an R rating, poor review scores, and without taking advantage of 3D for premium ticket prices.
Moviegoers just like old school badass John McClane which is why it’s not too surprising to hear that Fox is developing Die Hard 6. The sixth installment is planned as a prequel however, and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Red, Transformers) is joining the franchise and teaming with Live Free Or Die Hard director Len Wiseman to develop the project.
Even though it’s a prequel with a working title of Die Hard Year One, Deadline reports that the story will be primarily set in 1979 with John McClane as an NYPD cop but with room to include Willis as the aged present day McClane. Whether that happens or not or if this is a sendoff for Willis remains to be seen.
The concept at first glance sounds nonsensical, given that when McClane is first introduced in the original Die Hard, he’s not been through a similar kind of harrowing experience. It’s at LA’s Nakatomi Plaza in 1988 where McClane becomes the hero as an ordinary cop in an extraordinary terrorist situation. And if a prequel succeeds, how many ridiculous events can McClane experience leading up to ’88? Are all of Die Hard 6’s followups going to be set in the past? Or will they write over and ignore the existing timeline?
If the latter is true, why do a prequel and involve Willis at all? It appears that Jai Courtney’s chances of continuing the franchise as John McClane’s son Jack are off the table…
The one thing going for Die Hard 6 in addition to the brand name and the iconic character of John McClane is the working relationship Willis has with Wiseman who shared success with the PG-13 Live Free Or Die Hard which remains the top earner in the 5-movie series. Bonaventura has worked with Willis as well on the Red films so we can see how they’re all getting involved.
We point these relationshps out specifically because Willis has been earning a lot of negative buzz in recent years for his attitude towards the press and on set with directors. Kevin Smith (Clerks, Tusk) frequently recounts the horror stories of working with Willis on Cop Out, and Smith’s Hollywood Babble-On show co-host Ralph Garman recently told stories of how Willis was similarly a problem, refusing to shoot certain scenes on set for another Cullen brothers film titled Going Under. There’s also of course the infamous story of Sylvester Stallone calling out Willis on Twitter over his salary demands for The Expendables 3 which Stallone later apologized for.
GREEDY AND LAZY ...... A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) August 6, 2013
WILLIS OUT... HARRISON FORD IN !!!! GREAT NEWS !!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) August 6, 2013
Director Joe Carnahan (The A-Team, The Grey) publicly agreed with Stallone’s messaging and so it’s not surprising this story is commonly told on a lot of Willis’ productions. Antoine Fuqua labeled Willis a “pain in the ass” on set for 2003’s Tears of the Sun and more recently Woody Allen fired the actor (and replaced him with Steve Carell) from his next untitled film.
@TheInSneider Yep. Fired. A friend is on the film. Bruce couldn't remember a line. Cue cards were no help. Cast were losing their minds.— Tom O'Leary (@TomOLeary4) August 25, 2015
Willis hit broadway for Misery after parting ways with Allen but his career-defining Die Hard franchise may be his saving grace for the Hollywood spotlight and that fat paycheck. Interestingly, we’ve already seen a film where there’s an old and young version of Willis in the same story, in Rian Johnson’s 2012 hit Looper where Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a younger version by wearing prosthetics.
This Die Hard 6 news is timed with this week’s home video release of the epic Die Hard Limited Edition Collection which comes packed in – you guessed it – a replica of the Los Angeles Nakatomi Plaza tower. The set comes with collectible cards only found in the box set and a 32-Page, behind-the-scenes book.
The Nakatomi Plaza Die Hard Collection Blu-ray releases October 13, 2015.