Clint Eastwood, James Caan and many action stars turned down playing Bruce Willis’ John McClane in Die Hard for very different reasons
It’s considered one of the greatest action movies ever made, but did you know that Bruce Willis was far from the first choice for 1988’s Die Hard?
Based on the Roderick Thorp novel Nothing Lasts Forever, it’s rumoured Frank Sinatra was contractually obliged to be offered the role as a sequel to The Detective, which he starred in 20 years prior
Despite that being an urban legend, some huge action stars turned down the role of John McClane before Willis was cast.
Recounted in Empire editor Nick de Semlyen’s new book The Last Action Heroes: The Triumphs, Flops, and Feuds of Hollywood’s Kings of Carnage, are the reasons some of these Hollywood legends said no to Die Hard.
And interestingly enough some of them were for very different reasons.
Stars including but not limited to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Bronson, Harrison Ford, Al Pacino, Mel Gibson, Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds and James Caan have been attached to Die Hard.
And it’s believed the reason none of them said yes was because the part wasn’t exactly Rambo storming in to save the day.
John McClane is a divorcee who spends the start of the movie hiding and trying to get the cops to deal with terrorists before he finally takes matters into his own hands.
Caan is quoted as having said: “I read the script and this guy’s running away for the first 25 pages.”
Meanwhile, Richard Gere passed on Die Hard having recently toured Central America on a humanitarian mission.
As a practising Buddhist he was looking for a role that challenged him spiritually, not one where he killed a load of guys.
As for Clint Eastwood, he wrote the reason he turned down McClane on the script after reading it: “I don’t understand the humour.”
Instead, he went on to star in his fifth and final Dirty Harry movie, The Dead Pool.
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