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Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox, took to the airwaves of The Jim Rome Show -- a syndicated sports-talk program – to break some major casting news. He announced that Jai Courtney, best known right now for his role on Spartacus: Blood and Sand, has landed the part of John McClane Jr. in the soon-to-begin-production of A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth in the long-running Die Hard series.
Skip Woods (The A-Team, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) penned the latest script, which Max Payne director John Moore will helm. The story involves perennial curmudgeon John McClane (Bruce Willis) preventing yet another terrorist threat, this time from behind enemy lines in Russia. According to a plot synopsis, Courtney’s character “is caught up in a daring prison escape of a rogue Russian leader, and father and son must work together to keep each other alive and keep the world safe for democracy.”
The Die Hard series has gradually expanded in scope with each new film, graduating from a skyscraper in the original to an icy airport, a sweltering city (and the U.S.-Canada border), the Internet and, now, the world. The sixth Die Hard no doubt will send McClane to outer space, where I hope he fights Jason Voorhees.
They’ve also usually involved one of McClane’s family members being in danger, be it Bonnie Bedelia or, in the most recent Live Free or Die Hard, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as McClane tough-as-nails daughter, Lucy. Courtney seems like good casting for the junior John McClane, though I’m more interested to see how the screenplay handles the character. Will he be as resilient as his old man, so as to set up a passing of the torch for future Die Hard spinoffs? Or will he be a mousy crutch, like Justin Long, for McClane to overcome? Given his size (and stature), I’m guessing the former, but we’ll see when A Good Day opens in theaters on Feb. 14, 2013.