The Movies That Made Us (2019) s01e04 Episode Script

Die Hard

1 Lights Camera A-A-A-Action! - Die Hard - This is an action movie.
the ultimate action movie.
Holy mackerel.
This is, like, one of the greatest movies ever made.
This explosive gun blazing He was holding it with a very limp wrist.
stunt-heavy master class of movie magic - That's a wonderful shot.
- had a star who wasn't your usual bare-chested, muscle-bound hero.
When the trailer came out, the audience laughed.
This guy is like a wimp.
Before tears roll down the cheeks of a tender, barefooted Bruce no one wanted in on the action.
Nobody wanted the role.
Who the heck had ever heard of Alan Rickman? That fear you see on his face is real.
Die Hard dealt action movies a knockout blow It hurt.
and proved that a star from the box Can't we just let one bad guy get away? can break box office records.
All of a sudden he's an action star.
This is the story about the creation of a genre.
Die Hard on a bus on a mountain, at the Whitehouse And the destruction of pretty much everything else.
Oh, shit.
Oh, fuck.
Oh, no.
Yipee-ki-yay mother I don't want to say it.
These are the movies that made us.
Die Hard, the story of a New York cop who comes to Los Angeles - to make up with his separated wife - John.
but gets wrapped up in a hostage-taking heist.
Think, God damn it, think.
- He makes a new friend - I'm here, John.
- He makes a new enemy - Oops.
who he drops off a building which explodes.
Tell me you got that.
He hugs his friend he kisses his wife the end.
But to find out how we got here, we need to rewind through history.
A little further until we get to 1966, where a literary hero named Roderick Thorp wrote a novel.
Roderick Thorp's number one bestseller.
But this wasn't just any novel, this page-turning, hard-edged detective story became a movie two years later.
Joe Leland, Detective, prowling a city full of junkies, prostitutes and perverts.
The star of the movie was Ol' Blue Eyes himself.
Male, Caucasian, lying nude on floor.
Well, maybe not that part.
- I'm gonna be sick.
- No, you're not.
The 52-year-old Sinatra's portrayal of Detective Joe Leland was a success.
Frank Sinatra approached my dad, and he wanted him to write a sequel to The Detective.
Get out the notebook.
If Frank wanted a sequel, he'd get a sequel.
You crushed his skull, didn't you? But unlike The Detective, it wouldn't be as adult and revealing as any film can be.
My dad was not interested in doing the same kind of story again.
I want this to be different.
My dad said he wanted to make an action book.
So Robert Thorp sprang into action.
It took a number of years, obviously.
Ten years, in fact.
In that time, Ol' Blue Eyes turned gray.
The book was called Nothing Lasts Forever.
And even though it kind of took forever, when it did come it was a story about a man on Christmas Eve trapped in a building fighting terrorists dangling from elevator shafts, and jumping off rooftops attached to fire hoses.
Oh, it was also It's about a 60-something-year-old man who drops his 40-something-year-old daughter off of a building on Wilshire Boulevard, and she dies.
So, the book's hero is in his 60s, and the ending is kind of different.
But it was still a good read.
After lackluster sales and without Frank attached to the script He was just a little bit old to be dangling in elevator shafts.
20th Century Fox pressed the pause button on their sequel to The Detective for eight years, until one day Lloyd Levin, who was the development executive, he knew that this was the bones of an action movie.
So they set out to find a script writer who could adapt Hey, I can do that.
This is Jeb Stuart.
I was a tennis pro, and I was writing short stories and novels.
And Jeb was asked to take a swing at adapting Nothing Lasts Forever.
They gave the project to me because I think there was no huge expectation level.
They didn't know what they wanted.
Well, that was Jeb's job to figure out.
When I finished the book and closed it up, I realized I had no idea how to make this into a movie.
Little did he know on one fateful night, the story would hit him.
I'm particularly tired this one evening.
Within five minutes of being at home, I get into an argument with my wife.
I storm out of the house, get back in my car and from the minute I get on the freeway, I'm thinking "She's right, I'm wrong.
I got to figure out a way to apologize.
" So, I'm so wrapped up in what I'm going to say that I failed to notice that the cars are leaving the lane in front of me.
And suddenly there is a refrigerator box and there's nowhere for me to go.
So the only thing I could do is go right through the box at 65 miles an hour, thinking that was the end of my life.
And it was empty.
Jeb had a new lease on life, and possibly a new lease on a car too.
But, even more important, he had Inspiration.
I know what Nothing Lasts Forever is.
- Oh! Do tell.
- It's not about a 60-year-old-man who drops his 40-year-old daughter off a building.
It's about a 30-year-old guy who should have said he's sorry to his wife because bad stuff happens.
So, Jeb went home and apologized to his wife.
No, I went down to the office and I wrote the first 25 pages of Nothing Lasts Forever.
And just four weeks later They greenlit it.
I was I was I was stunned.
They're gonna make my movie.
And those "they" included explosive action producer, Joel Silver.
He has a basic philosophy.
And that is, if it gave him a hard-on, then it was good.
And ahem, did it? The first thing he said was, "We're changing the name of the movie to Die Hard.
" Great.
Made no difference to me.
So, now Joel was very happy.
One other thing, the top of the building has to blow up because this is an action movie.
And not just an action movie, a Joel Silver action movie.
I also had to get the guy off the top of the building.
I said, "How do we do that?" He said, "I don't know how you do that, but you do it.
" While Jeb and Joel came to blows one thing was obvious.
Nothing's going to happen on this project until we get a director.
Easier said than done.
After RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven, turned it down, Joel Silver set his sights on a new target.
- Target! - Set.
- Target! - Set.
Shall we set your water on the end table? Why? John McTiernan and Joel Silver went way back.
We had just done Predator.
A movie about a muscle-bound monster and this guy.
Joel just thought John McTiernan was the perfect guy for it.
But what did John McTiernan think? I turned it down.
Because it was a terrorist movie.
But Joel was eager to pin down McTiernan.
So he asked again.
Again, I turned it down.
Come on.
Do it.
- And again - No.
- And again.
- Do it.
- No, I don't want to do it.
- Come on! Joel sent me the script, like, three times.
Do it! But Silver was relentless, hunting down McTiernan He was a difficult man.
until he succumbed to the incessant badgering.
Okay, look I think I can figure out a way to get my head into this and make it work.
But I've got to start changing things in it.
What do we gotta do? There's no fun in this.
He didn't want it to be a terrorist movie.
Nobody likes terrorists.
Sounds like another script change.
Everybody likes robbers.
They're fun.
Um You can enjoy it.
As Jeb enjoyed the rewrites, it was time to cast the star of the film.
They were legally obligated to offer the part to Sinatra first.
And fortunately, he said, "I'm too old and too rich, I'll pass.
" Which was great, because otherwise the chases in the building would have been on Rascal scooters.
Then they went to all the usual suspects.
It went to Clint Eastwood first.
That's who I had in my head.
But Eastwood comes back with, "I don't get the humor.
" It was written across the script.
They went to Stallone Maybe we can do better.
They went to Schwarzenegger.
- Richard Gere - You never asked.
They went to Burt Reynolds.
- They went to Jimmy Caan.
- I'm just asking They went to everybody famous.
Who put this thing together? I think a lot of the actors read the script and they go, "This guy is like a wimp.
All the hero of this movie does is try to hide and get help.
" To find a hero brave enough to take on this wimpy role, they'd need someone bold, gutsy, and distinctly non-wimpy.
My name is Arnold Rifkin.
In a previous lifetime, I was an agent representing talent.
Hey there, fellas.
Did somebody say talent? Seagram's Golden Wine Well, Arnold Rifkin represented this one, Bruce Willis.
He was the spokesman for Seagram's Golden Wine Coolers, I think they were called.
He also happened to be a romantic comedy TV star.
And it was all thanks to this man.
My name is Glenn Caron and I created a television show back in the '80s called Moonlighting.
Moonlighting strangers It starred Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.
Cybill thought it was her show.
In the second season, it was no longer her show.
Women fell in love with Bruce.
So much so, that this TV heartthrob was soon offered a leading role in a movie.
which did moderately well.
And that's being moderately kind.
Then he did a second movie called Sunset that basically no one went to see.
Ironically, in that film he plays the role of Hollywood's biggest star And the thought was, at that moment, "Maybe that's the end of his movie career.
" Or maybe not.
Arnold Rifkin saw an opportunity to get his small-screen star one last shot at the big screen.
There was a risk factor for my client.
They're gonna laugh you off the screen.
And the only way that I believed one could justify the risk was that they offered him five million dollars.
And after some deliberation "Can you make this work with Bruce Willis?" I went, "Um uh" And I just look at Bruce, and I go like that.
"We got it.
" And he just screamed.
Rifkin's deal sent shock waves around Hollywood.
TV star Bruce Willis became He was the highest paid actor in the world.
With any remaining money they had left, it was time to cast the supporting roles.
Far from TV stardom and the world's biggest payday, Bruce's co-star Reggie Veljohnson had a very different story.
I was about to give up in the business.
I kept going to auditions and not getting them and whatnot.
I didn't know exactly where I fit in.
But my mom was the only one that supported me in what I did, and then Die Hard came along.
And I said, "Mom, this is my last chance at doing a film.
" I went and auditioned, and Wesley Snipes was there.
I listened to what he was doing, and I said, "I'll do it differently.
" I spoke directly to the camera and I said, "Listen, listen You give me this job, I'll be the best Al Powell you've ever seen.
" A couple weeks later, I got a call.
Hey, pal, you out there? I'm here, John.
They gave me the job.
It was cool.
But there were lots more calls to make.
Like to Bruce's screen wife.
Miss Gennaro.
We had the standard list of who's a hot woman.
But Bruce said, "No, this woman is a really good actress.
" I know exactly what your idea of our marriage should be.
She was an independent, Bye.
strong, bright, accomplished woman.
She wasn't the poor damsel in distress.
Well, there was a little bit of distress.
Kind of at the end.
I did have a gun at my head.
There was also William Atherton I liked the fact that I was playing, uh Eat it, Harvey! - The asshole.
- the newscaster.
He was the official go-to asshole, thanks to Ghostbusters.
I see.
I really don't mind doing this at all.
- There was Argyle - I'm your limo driver.
played by De'voreaux White.
First of all, everybody says "De'voreaux.
" It's De'vaurier White.
I think my parents were smoking pot or something.
And as for the baddies they weren't your average terrorists.
- Robbers.
- Oh, that's right.
- They're fun.
- They weren't your average robbers either.
One was a ballet dancer.
I wanted Alexander Godunov.
I thought he would be perfect for this movie.
I want blood! He was a great bad guy for a ballet dancer.
But for the baddest baddie of them all, Jackie wanted to put that role in safe Hans.
We've got to get Alan Rickman here.
Who the heck had ever heard of Alan Rickman? No one.
He'd never been in a movie.
He'd done Broadway.
But Alan did tick a lot of boxes.
Hans has to be upper class.
He has to be a well-educated European.
He wears a suit.
What more could you ask? An audience? Oh, uh one last thing.
Can he hold a gun? No.
He was meant to be a baddie after all.
I just remember saying, "Alan you've got to tighten up that wrist.
" Okay.
He was holding it with a very limp wrist.
Well, I taught him how to stiffen up that arm.
I take credit for that.
Whoa, hang on, shooting couldn't start just yet.
They didn't have a location.
So, they began an exhaustive search - Who's going to give you a building? - Scouring the country.
Hey, it's right there, guys.
They just used the building across the road.
Fox Plaza was on the Fox lot.
It was part of the Fox Corporation.
Ha! Well, so was Die Hard.
How convenient.
Quite a place you have here.
It will be if we ever get it finished.
Well, they hadn't yet.
Fox Plaza was so new, parts of it were still being built.
So, they let Die Hard have these unfinished floors.
The other finished parts of the building were filled up with lawyers and corporate offices belonging to Fox.
We moved into that functioning office building.
It seemed like a no-brainer.
Now shooting could begin.
And to do that, they hired an expert shooter.
My name is Jan De Bont, and I was the director of photography on Die Hard.
When Jan had been shooting in Africa on Roar, he almost became a no-brainer himself.
These are really wild lions.
They bit me on my head and scalped me.
Well, once he put his head together, he put his head together with John McTiernan and came up with a unique plan to shoot Die Hard.
We wanted to really change the action movie.
There was a tradition, how those movies were made before.
Ah! And we wanted to break all those traditions.
It was a touch in a different direction.
This is very silly.
And there were things all over the place, like the terrorist who notices there's candy in there.
SWAT guy runs through the roses and gets pricked.
- Ah! - I mean, those are all ludicrous.
I know, I know.
It sounds crazy.
Quite the opposite of this toxic masculinity, tough-guy image.
Son of a bitch.
You know, we all have feet of clay.
Son of bitch.
So, dialing down this toxic masculinity Fist with your toes.
would mean punching up the script with laughs.
I kept pushing to change the script.
He said, "None of the action changes.
All that stuff is great.
" I was trying to get him to lighten it up, and he didn't know how.
He's a good writer, but um and I was fired.
He won't be joining us for the rest of his life? It was devastating.
It was my movie.
It's like my baby and somebody's taken my baby.
And that somebody was Steven de Souza.
Yeah, I got the call from Silver.
"We have this picture.
Uh, I need a rewrite.
I need you to do what you do.
" Jeb had written the script that was a first rate script.
He's a really good writer.
But I'm probably the funnier guy.
I'd done Commando and I'd done 48 Hours.
I'm looking for a good old boy by the name of Billy Bear.
Never heard of him.
Heard of him now, man? De Souza has a style of They're basically just silly adventures.
Most importantly, I was used to working at a very rapid pace.
Phew! That's lucky, because it was already time to start shooting.
What? The schedule was locked in.
So, there was no time for a top-to-bottom script rewrite.
Okay, we're all set.
Alright, so we started shooting.
That's cut! We started shooting with 35 pages.
That's 35 rewritten pages of Jeb's original script.
So Steven only had 99 pages to go.
I knew I was gonna hit the ground running.
I was gonna be writing ahead of the cameras.
Cut! We've lost that cutting edge, I tell you.
But the basic problems didn't end with just that unfinished script.
There was a basic problem with Bruce.
His stock-in-trade was being a smart-ass.
Parts of me you've never seen.
Like that extra thigh you got stashed in the closet? David! On a small screen, that just read as a smart-ass.
- I'm gonna count to three.
- Really? You can do that? He's funny.
On the big screen, more resolution She's underage.
I'm not.
That smart-ass stuff that he'd been doing in Moonlighting didn't work.
I see.
And so our task was figuring out how to make him not a smart-ass.
So, Steven added that problem to his list too.
When the movie started, they said, "We want you to meet Bruce so he knows what you're doing, and you can get to know him.
" Hey! Merry Christmas.
But Bruce's people weren't making it easy.
I just got off the phone with his agent and they don't want rewrites.
He's had it with the pink, blue, green, yellow pages.
So when I went to meet Bruce, we had a great conversation.
He says, "You got a great sense of humor.
Why don't we have more of that in the script?" And I go, "Well, Bruce, we were sort of told by your people that you didn't want any" He said, "To hell with that.
" You hear any good jokes lately? "Any chance for comedy bits that you can give me Uh, do it.
" So, as Steven churned out the chuckles and new script pages, it was production designer Jackson De Govia's job to bring them to the screen just as fast as Steven could write them.
There wasn't time for rational process to occur.
It was all happening all at once in every department.
Including the stunts of which there were many.
That's why you try to hire the best people to do the stunts.
Oh! Did someone say "the best people?" Hello.
Charlie Picerni was the best stunt coordinator in town.
I worked on the original Star Trek TV series.
I am one of those people.
- These people? - No.
The red shirt guys.
Ah! There he is.
I can show you pictures of it.
And while Charlie didn't live long as an actor, as a stunt coordinator, he prospered.
We designed the action.
So, Charlie began constructing designer action on a construction site.
One of the great things about why the action is so visceral is Charlie Picerni and his stunt crew.
We walked the real building and made notes.
You put yourself in that position.
What would you do? How would you get out of that? The floor is under construction.
So, as I would go through and see things, I would take note of them and we could use them.
And so, for example that, uh, like, furniture dolly That was really there.
"Let's use that.
" Let's use this stairwell.
Let's use these chains.
All the stuff that was really there got incorporated in the fighting, which I think makes it fresh.
I mean, how many times can people punch each other? You'd be surprised.
There is a lot of punching in Die Hard.
People say, "Boy, when you hit that news reporter" - She slugged me.
- "that was so great.
" The scene when I hit the guy, John was like, "I need you to be more believable.
" He says, "I need you to follow through.
" So, I ran up and socked him.
Did you see my hand? That was hurting.
That hurt.
But no amount of carefully crafted action could avoid the odd slip-up.
We built a 40-foot shaft with pipes in it when Bruce comes out of the vent.
The stuntman, he was supposed to just go from this to that.
What happened was he caught it and he slipped.
And he fell.
Um, that was a screw-up.
I had a bag down below, so he slipped and hit the bag.
But we decided we'd use it.
The editor said, "Give me a shot from there, where his hands grab hold.
We can actually use this shot, it's a great shot.
As the film rolled on - He's doing it.
- He's not really doing it, which gets you more pissed off.
Steven stayed mere pages in front of filming.
I ended up expanding the subplot of the reporter.
Tell me you got that.
I added, "Did you get that?" I got it, I got it.
That's my contribution to contemporary cinema.
I ended up adding scenes with Holly and her fellow hostages.
Sprechen sie talk? But he was also thinking about the end of the movie or lack of it.
The whole time we were doing the movie, we kept saying, "How are they gonna get away with it?" We do not alter the plan.
What plan is that? We said, "We've got to get in an explanation of how they'll get away.
" Using real building schematics, this script mastermind tried to hatch a getaway plan.
Another thing that bothered us tremendously was that there was sort of no plausible way to get the hero and villain face-to-face.
You want the two guys to actually see each other.
But we were, like, halfway through shooting - Hi, there.
- before we worked it out.
And the solution came from the one place where the two characters could meet and not kill each other.
One day on the set when there was a break, someone says to Alan Rickman, "Alan, a lot of UK actors do American accents.
Do you do an American accent?" And Alan said, "I don't know if I do an American accent per se, but I can do, like, a California one.
" That's pretty trick, you and that accent.
So everyone laughed, and then a light bulb went off in my head.
I thought, "Oh, my God, that's it.
" He only knows him as this German-accented voice on the radio.
- This is Hans Gruber.
- Go fuck yourself, Hans.
If Alan does this in the movie, - he could possibly meet him - How are you doing? and not kill him.
I'm not going to hurt you.
Because the whole gimmick is that he's going to get caught, until and the words come out and he's clearly somebody else.
Please, God, no.
You're one of them, aren't you? You're one of them.
And this scene where an English actor playing a jerk pretending to be a terrorist doing an American accent was pretty neat.
And at that moment, the audience gasped because he's going to fool Bruce Willis.
And all the way through, you think Bruce has made a terrible mistake.
But then, Bruce goes, "Ha-ha! I knew who you were.
" That's the scene.
You ought to be on fucking TV with that accent.
Well, Bruce knew a lot about being on TV.
I happen to have extraordinary credentials.
But as for being in a movie he was still looking for a breakthrough moment.
There's many ideas going around from the writer and none were satisfying.
Wait, what? I think that Bruce also came up with some words.
No, you stupid frankfurters, you And cut.
But the "yippie-ki-yay," I think definitely did it.
I was always kind of partial to Roy Rogers, actually.
I really like those sequined shirts.
Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr.
Cowboy? Yipee-ki-yay, motherfucker.
Ah, there it is a line that transcends the film itself.
- It's got to be "yipee-ki-yay.
" - Yipee-ki-yay.
- M-F-er.
- I don't want to say it.
Well, it does contain a swear word.
"Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.
" Yep.
That's the one.
And the origin of this iconic line goes all the way back to that first meeting between Bruce and Steven.
In my conversation with Bruce Willis, we were talking about the TV shows we used to watch, and we both talked about Roy Rogers.
And we remembered he used to say, "Yippee-ki-yay, kids.
" Yippee-ki-yay - That's how that got in the movie.
- It became classic.
When he said it the first time on the set, everybody started laughing.
If a whole crew responds, then you know it's a good line.
Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker.
The cast and crew were all smiles except for this guy.
I don't think I ever saw John McTiernan smile.
I would say he has kind of a general dour approach.
I think his face would crack if he smiled.
He was kind of intense.
I was the one who was trying to put comedy in the movie.
- Right? Okay? - Okay.
So they cracked the jokes, but Die Hard was still very much an action movie.
You're saying action? Okay.
And in the days before computer effects, action was shot live.
Everything that you see in the movie is real.
Gonna end up right here, Janni.
The SUV comes out from the police the big explosion the first time Boom, boom, boom.
That's all real fire.
Real explosion.
While real explosions looked great, not everyone liked the sound of them.
Shit! They were so loud.
The people who were occupying the building, they were really mad at us.
There was one bunch of lawyers on the 25th floor.
We'd do any gunshots or anything and they'd go nuts.
Shoot the glass.
They didn't quite want us shooting off machine gunsuntil after five o'clock.
Using the power of movie magic they used imaginary bullets.
But, when the clock struck 5:00 We're back in business.
It was bombs away.
But the neighbors complained about that too.
And a bunch of other things.
The people in the neighborhood eventually got really pissed off having lights on all night long while they were trying to sleep.
They're going after the lights.
Then when the explosions started to happen, that was it for them.
But if explosions were bothering the neighbors, they were going to hate production's next plan.
We let them sweat for a while, then we give them helicopters.
Right up the ass.
A helicopter scene was one of the last things on our schedule because we knew it would take the longest amount of time to set up.
Normally, it would take at least three nights to film.
With three nights worth of shooting, and a mountain of complaints from the neighbors, the city gave them permission to shoot for just Two hours on a Sunday night.
And it just scared the bejesus out of me.
With a mere two hours to film the most complicated scene in the movie, they'd need to time everything to perfection.
We worked it out that we could in the space of an hour of shooting get the entire sequence.
I don't like this, Sarge.
We had 24 cameras all positioned through the city.
We were gonna take the helicopters through three or four times.
They're expecting transport.
The first take, the helicopter comes in and make the turn, and come up Avenue of the Stars.
All the people running to the top, the big explosion And the police said "Listen, this is too dangerous.
We have to stop you right now.
" Holy shit.
Shut it down.
Shut it down now.
And that whole scene, instead of three days, was done in a half hour.
Nothing new filmed after that.
Well, that's not entirely true because the helicopters were flying around the top of the building.
And as you remember The top of the building has to blow up.
Which meant the helicopter did too.
So to capture that effect, they hired Boss Films, a visual effects company run by Richard Edlund.
Die Hard was a movie that had to look real.
But there's a problem.
You can't go around blowing up helicopters and smashing them into buildings, so you use miniatures.
So with teeny tiny choppers and a model Nakatomi Tower, they'd have to make it all look convincing somehow.
We were told by Joel Silver there was no way we could make that thing look real.
We told him we're going to do it anyway.
We pushed the "Go" button.
And the explosion goes off and it's, poof! The helicopter comes off the roof Kugh! It just falls to the ground.
I mean, looking at all this stuff live It's not very impressive.
But that wasn't for these guys to decide, so they sent the shot in for approval.
And the next day, I get this call from Joel Silver and he's screaming into the phone.
The phone is practically breaking.
"Edlund, that shot is totally legitimate.
" The helicopter looked like it was hitting a real building.
- So it's fair to say that - The top of the building has to blow up.
had been thoroughly accomplished.
But, wait a minute, wasn't McClane on top of that building? I'm on your side, you asshole! When I was researching Die Hard and I'd gone up to the top of the roof and I saw the fire hose, I said, "Wow, this could be really great.
" Great.
So Bruce could just jump off the roof, then.
Of course.
Charlie had this one under control.
Please, don't let me die.
I knew I could put a decelerator through the fire hose, which is a rope, and could have a stunt man jump off, with the explosion, the whole thing Which was a really dangerous stunt Because Bruce was looking to land that jump to the big screen.
He himself stepped up to the edge of action movie stardom.
I will never even think about going up in a tall building again.
He knew this was his chance to make it.
He knew he had it in him to be a movie star.
So Bruce jumped.
Because in back of him, about a block away, the effects guy, Al Di Sarro, put an explosion up.
Just a movie magic spectacular shot.
And then, to complete the scene, a stuntman did this bit and this bit.
However, this movie magic sequence is one of the oldest writing tricks in the book.
The old good news, bad news scene.
The good news is I escaped, bad news is I can't get into the window.
The good news is I have a gun, the bad news is when I break through, the thing falls off and pulls me out.
The good news is I'm smart enough to take it off.
And the really good news, they already knew that this scene would work.
We have to acknowledge Harold Lloyd, who did the fire hose gag in a movie called Safety Last.
The way they shot it was a little nod to film stunt pioneer, Harold Lloyd.
But this wasn't the only jump off a tall building in Die Hard.
Ever since Nothing Lasts Forever, the end of the story involved a character falling to their death, - but back then - A 60-something-year-old man drops his daughter off of a building, and she dies.
But after, well, Jeb almost died the story swerved a little.
It's about a 30-year-old guy who should have said he's sorry to his wife, because bad stuff happens.
So, Jeb ended up making bad stuff happen to somebody else.
Happy trails, Hans.
And that would be the bad guy, of course.
When you see a person fall, it is normally This would be out of frame.
You never see the reaction.
They wanted a close-up of his face as he falls away from that.
So, we absolutely want to make sure that shot is absolutely real and there's no trick in it.
Well, there's really only one way to do that.
We set up an airbag in a 40-foot stage.
The airbag was covered with a blue screen.
It was a 40-foot drop, but it's right into an air bag.
It's no big deal.
That's a hell of a fall.
And unlike Bruce's leap, this one was to be shot close-up.
That whole sequence was about how he reacted to being thrown off the building.
Alan was known for treading the boards of Broadway.
I really don't want to hurry things.
Certainly not jumping off them.
Our agreement does not relate to the task you set me rather than the task I set myself.
I looked at the faces of some slightly incredulous producers when I said that I would do it myself.
And so, the fearless Alan Rickman prepared to fall backwards off a 40-foot drop.
He had a lot of guts, you know.
Here's this actor who's never done anything like this before in his life, and he has no idea what's going to happen when he lets go of that watch band.
Alan may have had no idea, but Charlie did.
Forty feet above the ground, Alan was held on by a rope that would release when let go by the stunt guys.
I told Alan, go on "Three, two, one, go.
" So I told the stunt guys, "Let him go on one.
" One of those guys was Thaine.
I got a hold of the rope And I said, "Three, two" and I let go of the rope.
That fear that you see on his face is real.
When you look at the shot, I mean, that's real terror in his face.
It took us a day to get that shot.
A full day of shooting and it was so worth it.
And so you got something absolutely immortal.
You can't invent that.
Alan landed safe and sound, nestled in a blue air bag.
He was not a happy camper, but he didn't get hurt.
And if he had been They were very careful to make it my very last shot of the film.
As the end of filming approached, there was still a little issue with the ending.
How'll they get away with it? The robbers still didn't have a getaway plan.
So, very late in the movie, literally two weeks before we wrapped, we said, "We got to get in an explanation of how they're gonna get away.
Put in a line of dialogue, whatever.
" And I said, "Alright, listen, I did a TV movie a few years ago that only aired once.
" Looks like the Spirit's done it again.
The villain of that was so evil that she was going to blow up a children's hospital and escape in a fake ambulance.
- And so the answer was - Forgery.
Forgery? Why don't we do that? It is the only thing that makes any sense.
They said, "Great, where's the ambulance?" "It was in the truck all along.
Great, perfect.
" Well, earlier in the movie, the bad guys arrived in a big truck.
So, for their getaway plan, Steven just wrote in an ambulance.
What the fuck is going on? With all but the final shot in the can, the crew settled in for one last night of shooting, and a fitting end to a love story.
That's Paris in the spring Bruce and his wife are coming out after all of the bombs, the fire, the bodies.
Everything that had happened between them was past.
After all they'd been through, McClane and his partner could finally hold each other tight.
And when we came out of the building, it was the big moment I saw love come together.
It was the two of them seeing each other, you know, so I was kind of hanging on there.
People have described Die Hard as being a love story between John McClane and Reggie's character.
That last scene where I get the chance to hug him and everything was really real because it was the first chance that we had on screen together.
You got yourself a good man.
You take good care of him.
But Holly would get her happy ending too.
The last shot I did was what is the last shot of the movie, of Argyle getting them, putting them in the car and If this is your idea of Christmas, I've got to be there for New Years.
lovers kissing as the limo pulls away.
That was pretty close to the last shot.
And with that, Die Hard finished shooting.
And while the crew hoped they had something special on their hands, they couldn't be sure until they had their first chance to see the movie cut together.
Now we have the first cut of the movie.
A very small select group is there.
We're watching it, we're loving it, it's wonderful.
It's the first 20 minutes All of a sudden, everybody goes, "Oh, shit.
Oh, fuck.
Oh, no.
" "Stop the film.
" The problem was that when they shot the guys coming out of the truck, there wasn't an ambulance in the truck.
You can look behind them and the truck is empty.
The thing wasn't in the back.
Where does the ambulance come from? There's no ambulance, because we shot that, like, ten weeks ago.
What the fuck is going on? For a movie that was shot while the script was still being written, these kinds of problems were probably inevitable.
But how would they solve this emergency vehicle vehicle emergence emergency? I don't care if the audience at this point says, "Two hours ago, I looked in the back of that truck and I didn't see that.
" Problem solved.
Despite this early blunder and other little problems throughout the film I didn't see his fake feet.
We saw that first cut with a temporary musical track, with a shot missing here and there, with Alan Rickman visibly falling into a rubber blue mat.
The crew were becoming cautiously optimistic.
And the first time we saw the first cut, we knew.
Everybody knew it was special.
Of course they'd think that.
The crew couldn't be trusted.
For a second honest opinion, Bruce called up his Moonlighting boss, Glenn I said, "Sure.
" who had his reservations.
To be honest with you, I had no sense of expectations about the movie.
I had heard that he was hugely miscast, and the movie was going to be this misbegotten thing.
- But, after seeing it - Holy mackerel! This is, like, one of the greatest movies ever made.
And he's amazing in it.
I mean that's a movie, man.
They're going to be showing that movie for the next 35 years.
Great, then let the marketing commence.
Months before the release, 20th Century Fox began a campaign featuring their brand new action movie star, Bruce Willis.
The original ad was a big shot of Bruce like this, in color with the building in the background.
The posters and print ads were soon followed by the theatrical trailer.
Christmas Eve in LA When the trailer came out and went into theaters, and Bruce Willis came up, the audience laughed.
Some people even said they weren't just laughing at the trailer they were booing.
It was this sense that Bruce Willis meant nothing at the box office.
So the studio was in a panic.
They took him off the poster about a month before the movie came out.
So, instead of building their marketing around Bruce, they built it around the building.
There was these giant posters for Die Hard, and it was a poster about a building.
Die Hard hit the screens on July 22nd, 1988.
It hits, box office is doing well.
On its opening weekend, it made seven million dollars, and as word of mouth spread, people started talking about the movie's star.
It was weeks later when the movie started to really become a roller coaster that Bruce's face was put back on the poster.
In the end, it made over $140 million at the box office, and that's enough to make anyone smile.
You'd think.
I wasn't worried about it being a hit one way or the other.
One way or the other, most critics and audiences really liked the movie.
It got critical acclaim.
Usually, action movies don't get critical acclaim.
And it was nominated for four Academy Awards.
What about John McClane? Well, as the movie gained notoriety, so did Bruce Willis.
Not only did it upend people's expectations, it totally reinvented him.
He was living in Moonlighting.
Don't be such a baby.
All of a sudden, now he's an action star.
It turns out Bruce wasn't just any action star.
His character John McClane redefined the idea itself.
What makes him a relatable hero is he's a regular, relatable person.
He gets in the front seat of a limousine He's just a real guy going about his business, having a tough time, like a lot of us do.
Think, God damn it, think.
He's a real guy, not some big action hero.
That's what made it so great.
I got invited to the Christmas party by mistake.
Who knew? Mom saw it for the first time she was in tears and she said, "I knew you'd do it, son.
I knew you do it.
" I bought her a house.
I bought her a car.
I was so proud of myself for being able to do that, too.
And I was proud that she saw me in it before she passed.
Dispatch to Eight Lincoln 30.
Investigate a Code 2 at Nakatomi Plaza, Century City.
Eight Lincoln 30 to Dispatch, I'm on my way.
It's been 30 years since Die Hard hit the big screen and some things have changed.
These trees weren't here.
I don't know where they came from.
But the car came down this way, came down the hill.
Rifle fire at Nakatomi! I need back-up assistance now! I'll never forget time that I did That was here.
It was It was special.
I was 31 when I started that film.
I was a youngster and I've become an old man now.
And we're still talking about that film.
Amazing, the memories that come back to you.
Die Hard gave me everything that I have today.
If it wasn't for that movie, I don't know where I'd be.
But it wasn't just the lives of cast and crew that were altered.
Action movies would never be the same again.
It kind of remade the whole idea of an action movie.
Merry Christmas.
It's not just about stunts.
It's about friendship and loyalty.
These are people with emotions.
She's the best thing that ever happened to a bum like me.
And that's the thing that Die Hard had.
It defined the action genre, and not only did it work, it was the blueprint for what was to come.
Die Hard on a mountain, Die Hard at the White House, Die Hard on a bus.
Everybody wanted to do Die Hard on a boat, Die Hard on a plane, Die Hard on land, Die Hard in Mexico.
Die Hard this, Die Hard that.
It became actually kind of boring.
Try as they might, no film could match the way Die Hard was written, rewritten, directed, shot acted and exploded.
- Hello.
- And stunt coordinated, of course.
And as Die Hard's legacy continues year after year, just maybe some things do last forever.