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Len Wiseman Talks ‘Die Hard: Year One,’ Casting a Young Bruce Willis


With the announcement of Len Wiseman’s “Die Hard: Year One,” fans were confused as to how exactly the sixth “Die Hard” installment would act as both a prequel and a sequel, but according to the director, the movie will primarily take place on New Year’s Eve 1979 and explore what makes John McClane the man he is today.

In an interview with Collider at the TCA Press Tour, Wiseman explained how he came to the decision to make the sixth “Die Hard” movie a partial prequel:

“After doing the fourth one, there were so many conversations that Bruce [Willis] and I were having about what he put into the character for Die Hard 1. That character comes in with so much baggage, emotionally, and experience. He’s already divorced, he’s bitter, his Captain hates him and doesn’t want him back. So, what created that guy?

…We’ve never seen the actual love story. We know its demise, but we’ve never seen what it was like when he met Holly, or when he was a beat cop in ‘78 in New York when there was no chance of him making detective. It’s always been something I’ve been thinking about, and now we’re doing it. And it ties in.

…The film itself will take place on New Years’ Eve 1979, so trying to gear things towards that would be fun, if we could come out around the same time, but these movies take their own paths.”

Wiseman went on to say he wanted the movie to be partially set in the present-day solely so he could have Bruce Willis back:

“The reason I say prequel/sequel is because I wasn’t going to do it without Bruce. I’m also not going to do it with Bruce being a cameo bookend gimmick. It’s really working into the plot, with the ‘70s having ramifications on present-day Bruce. It inter-cuts in a very fun, imaginative way with present-day John McClane.”

As for casting a young version of Willis, Wiseman said:

“It has to be somebody that has the swagger and the confidence, but also the charm, the wit, the charisma and the toughness. It’s asking a lot, especially in somebody that’s younger. It has to feel like the guy owns it, rather than is trying to put it on.”

“Die Hard: Year One” hasn’t been given a release date.


  • Ushio

    Why? why is this even being considered? talk about running out of ideas they should just abandon this series the 5th was awful so god only knows how bad this will be.

  • Michael Richards

    They should just cgi a young (24 year-old) Bruce Willis. I am sure there is technology to make that a reality and it would be a first for an entire film, I think.

  • Bixby


  • 1025x

    “the movie will primarily take place on New Year’s Eve 1979 and explore what makes John McClane the man he is today.”

    This doesn’t matter.

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    Yeah, the whole point of the character was how average and unremarkable he was before Christmas eve 1988…

  • 1025x

    Agreed. Also the fascination in Hollywood to give us the “how they became who we know them as” is so frustrating. I don’t care how John McClane became John McClane just like I don’t care how Jason Voorhees became Jason Voorhees. It actually doesn’t matter if the story is told well.

  • All Patriot

    Why can’t we have ‘Die Hard’ on the retirement bus, saving gramps and grannies from bureaucrats taking their retirements?

  • All Patriot

    Exactly! If he has some high flying, daredevil, solo cop adventure, then the nuance and improvisation of “Die Hard” is erased.

  • AngelsandDemons1

    yeah, remember Looper?

  • AngelsandDemons1

    Yeah, pretty difficult as the Nakatomi Plaza event is what “made” John McClain a house hold name….it’s like if they tell the prequel story, it has to be a low budget or indy film and not a Summer Blockbuster…..a story that is smaller in scope and more meaningful in its character development…you know?….not an action film…more of a drama

  • AngelsandDemons1

    I’d almost agree with you…but, we aaaaall wanted that Young Indiana Jones film with River Phoenix….may he rest in peace

  • AngelsandDemons1

    I think they should have just followed up films with the son…

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  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    A John McClane story before Nakitomi Plaza would be an episode of Law and Order SVU.

  • AngelsandDemons1

    Good Point!