John David Washington Explains Why His Beckett Character Is The Opposite Of Die Hard’s John McClane

John David Washington and Alicia Vikander in Beckett

The concept of an “everyman” action hero has disappeared from our cinematic landscape. It used to be that rugged actors such as Bruce Willis, Kurt Russell, and even comedian Eddie Murphy could pass in action thrillers because audiences liked to believe they were looking up at the screen and seeing themselves. Nowadays we look for superheroes as our saviors, but that doesn’t mean no actor brings an everyman quality to a role. John David Washington, for example, tried to infuse the character he plays in the Netflix film Beckett with a relatability that he thinks makes him the opposite of a Die Hard hero like John McClane.

In Beckett, John David Washington gets caught up in some international espionage when -- following a debilitating car accident -- he sees something in the countryside of Greece that he’s not supposed to see. Unsure who to trust, and miles away from the nearest U.S. Embassy, this American tourist must overcome odds to survive. But when discussing his character, and whether or not he watched Die Hard in preparation for Beckett, John David Washington told Collider:

I did not watch it, but I hear you. What I loved about this character is he's like the antithesis of John McClane. He's not cool. He'd rather Netflix and chill. You know, he's read about Greece, but he doesn't want to go to Greece. You know, his girlfriend had to get him to be adventurous. He doesn't really want any trouble. I call him a master of minimalism. He just wants to go to work and go home. There's nothing wrong with that.

Except, circumstances keep conspiring to keep Beckett in the crosshairs of some crooked cops and politicians who are trying to protect a secret. In another script, this character might have had a dark past that would prepare him for confrontations like this. Not Beckett, and John David Washington seemed to really appreciate that aspect of the role. He went on to say:

He's an ordinary man. He doesn't want any trouble, and trouble found him. And he doesn't have the facilities necessarily like John McClane to figure stuff out. But instead, he found himself wounded and having to survive and he did that, which is what I love. He persevered, even though he doesn't have a police background or a Navy SEAL training background. He just wants to survive and he finds a way to.

It makes for an unpredictable viewing experience. Because, as John David Washington notes, Beckett isn’t supposed to be in this situation in the first place. So you stay with the story to find out how exactly he’s going to get out of it. We had Beckett director Ferdi Cito Filomarino on CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast, which you can hear right here:

And if you want to watch Beckett, it’s on Netflix as we speak.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.