Die Hard producer denies sidelining Bruce Willis for new origin movie

The sixth installment will be titled McClane.

Die Hard franchise producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has shut down rumours suggesting Bruce Willis' role as the movie's leading man has been minimised for the forthcoming sequel.

The veteran actor has appeared as Detective John McClane in all five Die Hard films to date, and earlier this year (18), he revealed he was preparing to reunite with Len Wiseman, the director behind 2007's Live Free or Die Hard, to begin work on the script for their next installment.

It has since been speculated that the forthcoming project, initially titled Die Hard: Year One, wouldn't feature much of Willis as McClane, and would focus more on a younger version of the crime-fighter as Wiseman explored his character's origin story.

However, a studio spokesperson for 20th Century Fox has since announced the next film will actually be called McClane - and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura insists any suggestion that Willis is being sidelined is nonsense.

"You can tell our intention by the fact that the title page we handed in says, 'McCLANE,'" he explained to Empire of the revamped title. "We want you to get invested in John McClane more than ever before."

Addressing the unfounded rumours about the lack of screen time for Willis, he continued, "I don't know how you do Die Hard without Bruce.

"The idea that he's not very significant in this movie is not accurate at all. We are gonna explore John McClane in his 20s. But just as prominent is the 60-year-old version."

A projected production date has yet to be revealed, but Wiseman will direct from a script by Carey and Chad Hayes.

McClane will be the sixth installment in the Die Hard series, with the franchise first launched in 1988.

The most recent release, A Good Day to Die Hard, hit theatres in 2013.

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