Hollywood is full of franchises that overstay their welcome and perhaps the biggest one at this moment is the Die Hard franchise. Yes, the first one is one of the greatest action films ever made, but the franchise slowly deteriorated into absurdity, getting worse and worse until you reach the car-crash that is A Good Day to Die Hard. So, when yet another Die Hard film was announced, titled Year One, even the fans of the franchise were screaming ‘no more!’
However, Len Wiseman has stepped in to tell us more about the project and will be hoping to put the the mind’s of fans at rest. As you can probably guess, Year One refers to the fact that this is essentially and origin story set in 1979 on New Year’s Eve. This makes John McClane, made famous by Bruce Willis, 8 years younger than he was in the first Die Hard film.
Speaking to Collider, Wiseman stated that this has forced him to recast John McClane (otherwise explaining how McClane went from having no hair to a full head would be tricky) but Bruce Willis will still be present: “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.”
Bruce Willis has become an action icon and replacing him will be no easy task, yet Wiseman has an idea of who he needs to find: “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.”
This man will also need some serious acting chops. If this is an origin story, an explanation of what forged the man we meet in the first film, a man with a huge amount of personal and professional baggage, then we’ll need to find out what created that man. Even so, I won’t be crossing my fingers for this movie, it’s come a little too late. The producer of Transformers, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, has come on board but the project is still without a script writer and a capable lead. It is still early days for Year One but could it be falling on deaf ears when it does finally arrive?