Bruce Willis narrowly dodged death in Die Hard stunt gone wrong – ‘laughed about it’
Bruce Willis was fired off course by an explosion that almost ended his life at just 33-years-old.
Bruce Willis made a name for himself in the 1980s with the incredible Die Hard film series.
And while his character, the rogue cop John McClane, got away some some jaw-dropping death-defying stunts throughout the five films thus far, his first picture as the hero was almost his last.
Willis – who recently retired after being diagnosed with dementia – joined the John McTiernan-directed picture at just 33-years-old and was eager to make his mark on the film industry.
This meant doing all of his own stunts and putting as much physical effort into the performance as possible.
Willis’ excitement almost killed him just a few days into filming, though, when a stunt involving him jumping off a five-storey building sent him flying through the air on the wrong trajectory.
Willis’ unbelievable stunt was recalled in the new Nick de Semlyen book The Last Action Heroes. In it, the American actor recalled jumping off a five-storey parking garage while covered in flame-repellant gel.
As Willis leapt off the building, explosions were set off to complete the incredible stunt – but something went awry during the caper’s preparation.
When the explosions were set off Willis was caught in the crossfire, sending him way off course on his fall. As a result, he just barely managed to land on the giant airbag placed beneath him for safety. (Via Fox News)
Willis landed on the edge of the safety mat and – against all odds – was completely unharmed. But the cast and crew watching believed they had just witnessed the star’s death.
Willis recalled: “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.”
According to the book, Die Hard’s director and crew decided to film this stunt early in production so they had time to recast John McClane if Willis were to die.
At the time of filming, Willis was married to Demi Moore, who was extremely unhappy about how the stunt was handled.
She wrote in her memoir Inside Out that her visit to the set was “terrible”. “He nearly died jumping off a five-storey garage,” she explained.
“Just making it onto the airbag below when he was blown off course by a scripted explosion. He laughed about it. I didn’t.”
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