20th Century Fox CEO Tom Rothman Talks A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD; Says John McClane’s Son Is “A Badder Ass Than John McClane”

     April 27, 2012


After 12 years, the Die Hard series returned in 2007 with the first PG-13 entry in the franchise, Live Free or Die Hard.  The film did considerable business, and so development began on Die Hard 5.  After a long director search, Fox finally settled on John Moore (Max Payne) to helm the pic, which now finds Bruce Willis’ John McClane in Russia and teamed up with his son, played by Jai Courtney (Spartacus: Blood and Sand).

Steve recently sat down with 20th Century Fox CEO Tom Rothman at CinemaCon, and during the course of their wide-ranging conversation the executive spoke quite a bit about the story of A Good Day to Die Hard and what makes the film different from other entries in the franchise.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

A-good-day-to-die-hard-tom-rothmanSteve asked Rothman what he could tell us about the story for this fifth Die Hard, and Rothman responded by talking about what sets the film apart:

“I love this one.  It’s called A Good Day to Die Hard, and two things make it new: 1. John McClane, the ultimate American hero, goes to Russia.  So talk about a fish out of water, he’s completely out of water.  And 2. It’s really a father-son story, which is that John McClane’s been a great cop his whole life but he’s been a pretty lousy father.  He has a grown son who he’s not really been in much touch with, and McClane thinks the son’s a fuck up—that’s a technical term.”

So what brings everyone’s favorite hardened cop to Russia?  His son, of course:

“So he goes to Russia, he thinks, to bail his son out of jail, and it turns out the son’s not a fuck up, he’s the antithesis of that.  In fact, the apple has not fallen far from the tree, the apple has not fallen from the tree, which is that the son is a badder ass John McClane than John McClane.”

die-hard-5-jai-courtney-bruce-willisEssentially the set up is that McClane reunites with his estranged son, who turns out to be John McClane 2.0.  As far as the villains go, Rothman said The McClanes make quite a few enemies overseas:

“It comes to the point in the story where they’re basically the most wanted men in the entire Soviet Union, and it’s the two of them against all of the bad guys.  I’ve just gotta say, it’s a classic, classic Die Hard.”

Though I was really hoping to see Mary Elizabeth Winstead return as McClane’s daughter from Live Free or Die Hard, it sounds like they may possibly be setting the franchise up for a new lead in the future.  Given that McClane’s son is “a badder ass than John McClane,” I could see Courtney being poised to lead the series in a few years with Willis taking a smaller role in subsequent installments.  Fox took their sweet time settling on just the right actor to take the McClane Jr. role, so hopefully Courtney impresses when the release date rolls around.

If you missed any of our coverage from the rest of Steve’s conversation with Rothman, be sure to check out his comments on a New Mutants movie, the Prometheus rating, the Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel, and updates on Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and Chronicle 2.  Look for more from Rothman here on Collider soon.


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