[UPDATE: A handful of directors are now being shortlisted as contenders to helm Die Hard 5. Read on...]
When Live Free or Die Hard raked in over $383 million worldwide in theaters back in 2007, it was only a matter of time before serious talk about Die Hard 5 got underway. Jump ahead to the present and sure enough, Bruce Willis is prepped to reprise his turn as damn-the-rules New York cop John McClane in a fifth installment.
Noam Murro was previously attached to direct Die Hard 5, but his signing on to helm 300: Battle of Artemisia has reportedly forced Murro to drop Willis' action sequel from his to-do list. 20th Century Fox, it seems, already has a replacement in mind.
According to Twitch, director John Moore has been informed by studio heads that Die Hard 5 "is essentially his to take or leave." Moore previously called the shots on movies like Behind Enemy Lines, the Flight of the Phoenix and Omen remakes, and the video game adaptation, Max Payne.
UPDATE: According to Deadline, Moore does have competition for the Die Hard 5 directing job, in the form of Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Justin Lin (Fast Five), and Nicolas Wending Refn (Drive). However, Moore remains the most likely candidate, out of the four.
Skip Woods' revised screenplay for Die Hard 5 reportedly sends McClane and his son overseas to Russia, where the two are drawn into "a conflict with local forces." Presumably, that means Willis is going to be paired opposite a younger actor as his biological son, Jack Gennero - in which case, we can expect more old vs. new-school banter between the two, along the lines of the dynamic between Willis and Justin Long in the fourth Die Hard flick.
It could also be that Long's character, Matthew Farrell, will now be married to McClane's daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and thus could return as Willis' son-in-law. Either way, don't be surprised when Die Hard 5 boasts plenty of one-liners and "I'm getting too old for this..." type of humor.
There are a couple of routes Die Hard 5 could go, with regards to how McClane and his son get involved in a deadly plot in international territory. It's possible that the pair might just be vacationing overseas and find themselves in the wrong (right?) place when the you-know-what hits the fan (a setup more similar to those in the first two Die Hard movies). Or perhaps McClane will be recruited by the U.S. government to handle the trouble in Russia, after his role in averting the threat to national security in Live Free or Die Hard.
McClane serving up U.S diplomacy as only he can would be pretty preposterous, even for this action franchise. Then again, that would be part of the fun - and all the less unexpected, going off the previous films scripted by Woods (see: The A-Team, Wolverine, Hitman, Swordfish) and directed by Moore.
Assuming Twitch's report is true, though, this news seems to kill off the onetime rumor about McClane taking on another Gruber in Die Hard 5. That's a shame too, since our own Ben Moore had some amusing ideas about how the whole Gruber clan could join the party this time around.
Bruce Willis' days as a convincing action hero on the big screen aren't done just yet (see: last year's Red), and he looks to kick plenty of butt in upcoming titles like The Expendables 2 and Die Hard 5 - not to mention, the persistent rumors about him being sought to play Joe Colton in next year's G.I. Joe: Retaliation. He has already announced his intention to call it quits (with regards to the John McClane character) after Die Hard 6, though.
Sad news for some, certainly, but perhaps that's for the best - lest we get a seventh Die Hard that features an arthritic McClane duking it out with the orderlies of his nursing home, during a bingo night-gone-wrong.
We'll keep you posted on the status of Die Hard 5, which is tentatively being eyed for a 2012 release.
Update Source: Deadline