10 things you (probably) didn't know about Die Hard

  • 10 things you (probably) didn't know about Die Hard

This week saw the 23rd anniversary of Die Hard's release in UK cinemas, that's 23 years since we were introduced to John McClane, Hans Gruber and Argyle the limo driver.

So, to celebrate, we're giving you the inside scoop and reveal some interesting and exciting things that you may not know about one of the greatest action films of all time.

10. Han Gruber and John McClane's meeting was thanks to Alan Rickman's skill at accents

Director John McTiernan was looking for a way to have Gruber and McLane meet before the film's climax and were stumped.

When they discovered Alan Rickman's skill at speaking in a convincing American accent, they wrote it into the script.

McTiernan was never satisfied with Rickman's accent though, as he can still hear the actor's British accent coming through.

9. To add realism to the film, director John McTiernan deafened Bruce Willis

John McTiernan wanted to add 'hyper-realism' to the film, so he decided to load the guns with special, extra loud blanks.

In the scene where McClane kills a terrorist by shooting him through the bottom of a table where the terrorist is standing, because Willis was in a small, restrictive space, the extra loud blanks left him with permanent two-thirds hearing loss in his left ear.

McTiernan was forced to cut away immediately after Hans Gruber shoots anyway as Alan Rickman would flinch after firing his gun - you get a brief glimpse of Rickman winching when he shoots Takagi.

8. The Nakatomi tower is 20th Century Fox's HQ

The then-unfinished Fox Plaza provided both the film's external and internal scenes, the scene in which John McClane explores an unfinished floor was really under construction.

John McTiernan revealed that most of the exterior shots of explosions in the building were real as the crew set off full-scale explosions in and around the actual building.

20th Century Fox charged itself for renting the building, goodness knows how they worked that out.

7. The script was being still written when they were shooting the film

When filming had begun and the script, including the film's ending hadn't been finalised.

As such, the truck that the terrorists are transported in is actually too small to fit the ambulance that was later revealed to be inside it - which still haunts production designer Jackson De Govia to this day.

Also, the computer room set was built before anyone had figured out how it would feature in the film.

6. The director didn't want the villains to be terrorists as it'd make them too mean

Originally the script had the terrorists hijack the building, but to make the film more suitable as a summer blockbuster, John McTiernan retooled the script.

McTiernan wouldn't agree to do the film until it could have "some joy in it" and he rewrote the script so the bad guys would be masquerading as terrorists, but then the audience could enjoy their intention of a big heist.

He felt having the villains as terrorists would be less enjoyable for audiences and wanted to avoid giving the film a political angle.

As well as that, John McClane's character was supposed to be a superhero cop, but McTiernan felt that audiences wouldn't identify with him, so changed him into an everyday, flawed cop that rises to the occasion in dire circumstances.

5. John McClane's catchphrase was almost slightly different

According to interviews, director John McTiernan wanted McClane's catchphrase to be: "Yippie-Ty-Yay, Motherf*cker!" but Bruce Willis argued that it should be the now-iconic "Yippie-Ki-Yay" instead.

They tried both versions, and Willis' preferred choice of "Yippie-Ki-Yay" won out.

When it was shown on TV, the catchphrase took on a much different form.

4. The German terrorists weren't actually German (but they were tall)

Only a couple Hans Gruber's criminals were actually German, the actors were cast for their menacing appearances with nine of the 12 being over 6 feet tall.

Only a couple of the non-German actors could speak some form of German and throughout the film it is grammatically incorrect.

The German version has the criminals coming from the vague area of 'Europe'.

3. Alan Rickman was on crutches for the first week of filming

On his first day of shooting, Alan Rickman jumped off a three foot high ledge and managed to injure his knee and damage some cartilage in his knee.

A doctor gave him crutches and told him not to put any weight on his leg for a week.

His first day of shooting was the scene where Hans Gruber first runs into John McClane, so in the scene where Gruber is talking to McClane, Alan Rickman is wearing a leg brace under his trousers and standing on one leg the entire scene.

2. Fox chief Rupert Murdoch agreed Willis' fee

Before John McClane, Bruce Willis had only starred in romantic flicks so there were a few eyebrows raised when a staggering $5 million was offered to an unproven action star.

Rupert Murdoch signed off Willis' fee as he felt the star would bring "a level of warmth and humour to the character".

1. Alan Rickman's reaction from falling off the building was real

For the shot where Hans Gruber falls from the top of the boiling, Alan Rickman was falling onto an airbag from a 40-foot high platform.

John McTiernan told Rickman he was going to be dropped on the count of three, but told the stunt coordinator to drop him on two.

Being dropped sooner than he expected caused the real life terrified reaction from Rickman which worked perfectly and that was the only take they needed to get it right.

Rickman explained about the stunt: "That sounded like fun and so I decided to do it, I thought they were a bit surprised that I said I would and I was surrounded by people saying, 'You're mad, you're mad!' But no, it was fun."

"And it was the last shot, so if I'd been broken my neck, they'd still have a movie," Rickman added chirpily.

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