When the first Die Hard movie came out in 1988, it basically invented a genre: the "one man against the world" action movie. An entire generation of films was pitched to studios with the words, "It’s Die Hard in [fill in name of location here]." Since the first movie came out, we’ve seen four different sequels, and while the first couple were still pretty good, the more recent ones...well...not so much. Now the word is they’re looking at going back in time with an origin story. How would that work? Well, one filmmaker has one hell of an idea, and he took out a full page ad to prove it.
Since the image can be a little tough to read, here’s the rundown as brief as we can make it. It opens with a 60-year-old John McClane as a convicted felon on his way to federal prison. We begin to learn why in a flashback. In 1979, 24-year-old McClane is investigating the death of a 6-year-old boy. The investigation is being run by a young detective named Stan Winshaw. McClane is able to come up with a suspect, named Clearance Sutton, but Sutton disappears before McClane can arrest him. The case goes cold and is never solved.
Back in the modern era, Sutton’s body has been discovered, along with evidence that implicates McClane in his death. Upon returning from Russia (following the last film), McClane is arrested, tried and convicted. McClane’s wife Holly (with whom he has reconciled) has been working on his appeal and she believes she has evidence that Winshaw is to blame, but before she can present the new evidence a riot breaks out in the prison where McClane is being held. There's more to the riot than meets the eye, however, as it is actually a diversion to attempt to break out a couple of terrorists who want to make a new attack on New York City. And then this happens...
However, the one thing [the] terrorists didn’t count on was the one man who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time... and when it comes to John McClane, old habits die hard.
So, where can I go and buy a ticket to this right now? The full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter was taken out by independent film producer and writer Eric D. Wilkinson and is written as an open letter to Bruce Willis, Len Wisemen and Lorenzo di Bonaventura. He has an obvious passion for the franchise and this pitch, and his willingness to make it public shows how deep that goes. Wilkinson rightly points out in his ad that the problem with doing a Die Hard origin story is that the original film is a perfectly acceptable origin story. He calls out the later sequels for turning the character from an everyman into Superman. While everything about this movie would still have to be done right in order to get that everyman feel back, Wilkinson seems to get it. His twitter feed has been steadily blowing up since with people congratulating him on his take, but it was this tweet from a couple of days ago that caught my eye. We have a feeling we now know what he was referring to.
Whether this idea goes anywhere or not, we think Wilkinson may have just changed his future. Hollywood appears to have noticed. What do you think of this as the story for Die Hard: Year One? Are you on board for one last ride?