Never accuse Bruce Willis of holding his tongue.
At 52, he is impeccably fit, brimming with confidence
more outspoken than ever before – even when the topic strays from his work as
Det. John McClane, the iconic hero of Live Free or Die Hard.
He doesn’t subscribe to the lone gunman theory, for
instance. (He believes the JFK assassination to be the handiwork of White House
conspirators.) He refuses to work again with Armageddon director Michael Bay and Last Boy Scout producer Joel Silver. And when fans complained, via
the Internet, that Live Free or Die Hard
was a sanitized copout – largely because of its PG-13 rating – he
logged on and addressed them personally, insisting that the fourth Die
Hard would be every bit as rugged and
intense as its predecessors.
“I saw a lot of scripts that went on to become films that
weren’t named Die Hard, but this was
great one,” he says. “If I didn’t think it was great, I would skirt the issue,
because I’ve made films that disappointed me. And though I’ve been asked not to
talk about the rating, I know how hardcore the film is because I’ve seen it.
After 15 minutes, you’re not going to be thinking that it’s PG-13. That will
become a non-issue.”
Although Willis is seemingly untroubled by the film’s rating
– despite his pointed rant about it in Vanity Fair – he remains convinced that Live
Free or Die Hard is not just a worthy
sequel, but the finest he’s made since the 1988 original.
“Sequels are treated
with a lot more respect these days than
in the past,” he says. “I didn’t have to do this film. I could have retired
undefeated. But I always wanted to make a film that was much closer in nature
to the first film, which is the only really great one. And we did it. This one
really lives up to the mythology of Die Hard,
and it gives the fans what they’ve come to expect.”
That said, Willis isn’t
ready to retire just yet – the
script for a fifth Die Hard is already
being written, he says, and he eagerly awaits the challenge, regardless of the
physical toll it might take on his body.
“It was a really difficult shoot,” he
says. “I had to get
myself in shape, but I still got beat up. My body isn’t what it was 20 years
ago. But I love to play this character. It’s his lack of respect for authority,
which speaks to my south Jersey sensibilities. He loves his family and his
country, but he can’t deal with authority.
“What makes this film different from most of
the films out
there this summer is that 90 percent of the stunts are real. Other films are
filled with CGI, but my 13-year-old daughter watches them, and she doesn’t
think anyone is in any real danger. Die Hard
delivers real, smash-mouth action, and that’s the way it should be.”