Bruce Willis on 'Die Hard'

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I read somewhere that you recommended Bonnie Bedelia for the role of your wife in the movie?
BRUCE WILLIS: No, Bonnie had already had some hits so I don't think I was responsible for that.

And what about John McTiernan? Did you get along with him? He's a notoriously cranky guy...
He's a great storyteller, a great filmmaker. He was doing stuff with the camera that I had no idea why he was doing it until I saw the movie. And when I did finally see it I thought ''Holy Christ! That is unbelievable!'' I'll tell you another story. There's a scene in Die Hard where you see me jumping off the roof of what's supposed to be Nakatomi Plaza. But what I really did was jump off the garage — a five-story garage. And that was the first shot that I did on the first night. And I'm up there on the roof and they're strapping the firehose around my waist and they're slathering me up with this stuff and I said, ''What's this for?'' And they said, ''That's so you don't catch on fire. See those big plastic bags of gasoline over there? We're gonna blow them up when you jump!'' When I jumped, the force of the explosion blew me out to the very edge of the air bag I was supposed to land on. And when I landed everyone came running over to me and I thought they were going to say, ''Great job! Attaboy!'' And what they were doing is seeing if I'm alive because I almost missed the bag. Finally, I was like, ''Why would you shoot this scene first?'' And they were like, ''If you were killed at the end of the movie it would cost us a lot more money because we'd have to reshoot the whole thing with another actor.'' [Laughs]

Alan Rickman is amazing as the villain, Hans Gruber. What's the importance of a great villain in these kinds of movies?
It makes the movie smart. Any story where you have good guys versus bad guys can only be as smart as the intelligence of your baddest guy. And Alan Rickman is the best example of that. That was his first film! He's awesome in that. When he says, ''Unfortunately, Mr. Takagi will not be joining us for the rest of his life,'' it's such a throwaway delivery, it's so good. That really kind of snobbish thing that the Brits do so well in film.

Do you have a favorite scene from the first Die Hard?
Yeah, there was some discussion about whether or not McClane should cry or get choked up when he's talking about saying good-bye to his wife. And I remember we did one take without and one with, and everybody liked the one where I got a bit choked up. I thought that was an interesting scene.

Did you have any idea it was going to be such a big hit?
None. You know what, I started to get an idea when they started to show me cut footage of four or five scenes together.

What affect did it have on your career?
[Laughs] I didn't have to do TV anymore.

NEXT PAGE: A Die Hard 5? '' Yeah! I think we already did it but it was called 16 Blocks.''


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