Bruce Willis

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'Die Hard' Is Turning 30 And You Won't Believe Where The Film's Inspiration Came From

July 12, 2018

It's no secret "Die Hard" has a huge fan base, and is considered by many and the greatest Christmas movie of all time.  

However, what many don't know is where the film's inspiration all came from.  

The film is originally based on the novel "Nothing Lasts Forever" by Roderick Thorp from 1979.  It was a sequel to his previous book "The Detective" from 1966 which is about a New York gumshoe named Joe Leland, who is hired by a woman and pulled into a world of deceit.  "The Detective" was then made into a movie by Gordon Douglas in 1968 which starred Frank Sinatra as the lead.

Now it turns out that Thorp's idea for his sequel came to him when he fell asleep in a movie theater while watching the film "The Towering Inferno".  He apparently had a dream about his lead character Joe Leland being chased through a skyscraper by armed men.

Sound familiar?  

John McClane was based on Joe Leland, Anton “Little Tony the Red” Gruber was the basis for Hans Gruber, and the company building the action takes place in is the Klaxon Oil Corporation headquarters, similar to Nakatomi Plaza.  Even Sergeant Al Powell is there.

Originally it was hoped that Sinatra would play the lead but he was considered too old when the role was offered to him in the mid-1980s.  The role of McLane was then offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but turned it down as well.  However there was a second literary influence to "Die Hard". 

Gruber’s siege of Nakatomi Plaza was supposed to take three days, but the film's director John McTiernan changed it to only one night after being inspired by Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream".  

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