HomeEntertainmentClint Eastwood Turned Down Bruce Willis’ Role in ‘Die Hard’: Here’s Why

Clint Eastwood Turned Down Bruce Willis’ Role in ‘Die Hard’: Here’s Why

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Chris Weeks/Liaison)

From Pulp Fiction to Armageddon to The Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis has some truly impressive films in his catalog. That said, for many fans, no role Bruce Willis has or could ever play will top his role as John McClane in the Die Hard franchise. But did you know that Bruce Willis wasn’t the producers’ first choice to take the now-iconic action role? That honor belongs to The Man with No Name himself, Clint Eastwood.

Though Bruce Willis is a well-known action star now, back in 1988, he was just getting started. The young actor already showed promise, but the Die Hard writers initially hoped for someone with a bit more experience to take the starring role of the film. They turned to the Western mega-star, Clint Eastwood. Eastwood, however, turned down the offer.

‘Die Hard’ Screenwriter Reveals Reason Behind Clint Eastwood’s Decision

In a recent interview SlashFilm, Die Hard screenwriter Jeb Stuart revealed the star’s reasoning behind this decision. According to Stuart, it all came down to the humor.

“They went to Clint Eastwood first,” the screenwriter recalls. “Ironically, his response to the producers was, ‘I don’t get the humor.’ Which, for me, was a shock because if you listen to a lot of those words, Eastwood’s one of the few people who could have delivered a line like ‘Come to LA, have a great time.’ All that kind of stuff. You could see him doing that. He was my inspiration.”

In hindsight, Bruce Willis was probably the right choice. Though Clint Eastwood would have no doubt made a fantastic John McClane in the original film, the fact of the matter is that Eastwood was already almost 60 when the film debuted in 1988. The latest addition to the franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard, hit theaters in 2013 – when Eastwood was 83 years old. While the thought of the 83-year-old yippie-ki-yaying his way to victory is amusing, it’s fairly unrealistic.

Is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas Movie? Bruce Willis’ Mother Says No

Die Hard is considered one of the greatest action movies of all time by fans and critics alike. One thing fans can’t quite agree on, however, is the sub-genre of the movie. Though there’s no question that Die Hard is an action film at its core, many believe that it’s also a Christmas movie.

The film not only takes place during the Christmas season but the 2-hour runtime is also absolutely filled with Yuletide references. Despite the various Christmas decorations, the “Now I have a machine gun Ho Ho Ho” shirt, the Christmas music, and the many lines referencing the holiday, Bruce Willis’ mother stands firm in her opinion that the film isn’t a Christmas movie.

Mrs. Willis says that, while the film takes place during Christmas, the holiday doesn’t serve as an essential part of the movie. The holiday provides a backdrop and nothing more. And according to TMZ, Bruce Willis agrees.

No disrespect to the Willis family, but… Die Hard isn’t just a Christmas movie, it’s one of the best Christmas movies.