Welcome to the party, listeners. On this very special festive episode, we’re celebrating the holidays the only way we possibly could: with a deep dive into the writing of Die Hard, courtesy of none other than the film’s co-writer, Steven E De Souza. Yes, it’s a Christmas film. In fact, for countless fans, Die Hard is the ultimate Christmas movie: a touching yuletide tale of family reconciliation, that just so happens to feature a tonne of explosions.
What’s there to say about Die Hard that you don’t already know? Bruce Willis became a megastar thanks to his performance as John McClane, a no-nonsense New York City cop who becomes embroiled in a terrorist takeover of the Nakatomi Tower in Los Angeles. McClane ventures to LA for the holidays, intent on winning back his estranged wife, Holly. He’s not the only uninvited guest who turns up at Holly’s company’s Christmas party, though. Enter Hans Gruber, one of the greatest action villains in movie history, played by Alan Rickman.
Steven came on board the project after screenwriter Jeb Stuart originated the project, adapting the 1978 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. In the conversation you’re about to hear, we discuss the development of Die Hard, charting how it went from an gun-toting B-movie pitched to studio 20th Century Fox as “Rambo in an office block”, to something grander: an action movie that broke almost every action movie roles, hiding a sentimental heart and redefining American movie masculinity in the process.
Script Apart is a podcast about the first-draft secrets behind great movies. Each episode, the screenwriter behind a beloved film shares with us their initial screenplay for that movie. We then talk through what changed, what didn’t and why on its journey to the big screen. All proceeds go to Black Minds Matter UK, the NHS Charities Covid-19 Appeal and the Film and TV Charity.
Script Apart is hosted by Al Horner and produced by Kamil Dymek, with music from Stefan Bindley-Taylor. You can follow Script Apart on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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