On July 15, 1988, Die Hard, an action film starring Bruce Willis as wisecracking New York City cop John McClane, opened in theaters across the United States. Here are five hard facts you didn;t know about this classic film...
It's Actually Based on a Book
Die Hard seems like a great idea on its own, but it wasn't quite original. Not only was it influenced by The Towering Inferno, but it also was an adaptation of a book, which itself was a sequel. The movie is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 crime novel Nothing Lasts Forever, which is a sequel to his 1966 novel, The Detective. In 2013, Thorp's book was re-released for Die Hard's 25th anniversary.
Frank Sinatra Was Considered Before Bruce Willis
Frank Sinatra was originally offered the main role in the movie Die Hard. Because Sinatra had starred in the big-screen adaptation of The Detective, producers were contractually obligated to offer Frank Sinatra the leading role in its sequel. At the age of 73, he gracefully turned down the role.
Bruce Willis's Movie Debut Was In A Frank Sinatra Film
If you like movie coincidences, you'll love this: Bruce Willis ended up with a lead role that was originally meant for Frank Sinatra -- years after Willis made his film debut as an extra in a film starring Frank Sinatra. Willis didn't have lines and if you blink, you might miss him because the role simply required that Willis entered a diner as Sinatra’s character left it. The film was The First Deadly Sin, released in 1980.
Bruce Willis Wasn't Even the Studio's Third Choice For The Role
The studio didn't jump from Sinatra to Willis immediately, however. Willis was known for his work in comedy at the time -- remember the TV show Moonlighting? -- and the studio wanted an action star. However, no other action stars wanted the role. Rumor has it that Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro, Don Johnson, Charles Bronson, Richard Gere, Nick Nolte, and Mel Gibson, were all considered for the role of John McClane. And all declined it.
Bruce Willis Went Partially Deaf During Filming Extra-loud blanks were used in a few scenes to create a better level of realism, but when one was shot off too close to Bruce Willis' ear, it led to permanent hearing loss. When asked by The Guardian what his most unappealing habit was, he said, "Due to an accident on the first Die Hard, I suffer two-thirds partial hearing loss in my left ear and have a tendency to say, 'Whaaa?'"