Bruce Willis is the first to admit that, five movies in, the titles of the “Die Hard” franchise are getting a bit ridiculous.
“We only do another ‘Die Hard’ when they have another really complicated title that no one quite understands,” Willis jokes. “We had just gotten to where we understand [2007’s] ‘Live Free or Die Hard,’ and then now we have ‘a Good Day to Die Hard,’ which, I have to be honest with you, I’m a little baffled still by that one.”
Twenty-five years after the first “Die Hard” turned Willis from a funny TV guy into a bonafide action star, he’s back in “a Good Day to Die Hard” as Det. John McClane, the wisecracking New York cop who always manages to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This go round, that wrong place is Moscow, where he’s tracking down his estranged son (Jai Courtney).
“Moscow was really built for a couple of fish out of water like us. I can’t imagine a bigger ocean of non-communication than Eastern Europe and Russia,” Willis says. “I don’t speak any other languages really. We got a couple jokes out of that. It just opens it up. I like seeing myself not be able to figure things out — not being able to figure out how the car works, not being able to figure out what someone is saying to me. I can hardly understand English.”
The fourth film found McLane reconciling with his daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who has a small part here. With John Jr. featuring in this film, does that mean a sixth might reunite McClane and his wife, Holly, played by Bonnie Bedelia?
“I always think of Bonnie Bedelia and having her coming back,” Willis says. “Those things are unfortunately out of my hands. It has to do with the story.” Bedelia, for her part, has been keeping busy on NBC’s “Parenthood.”
Willis is already the fourth member of the “Expendables” team to hit theaters with a headlining film in 2013, following Arnold Schwarzenegger (“the Last Stand”), Jason Statham (“Parker”) and Sylvester Stallone (“Bullet to the Head”). But Willis isn’t concerned with how his latest outing will stack up against his colleagues’.
“I don’t compete with anyone. I compete with myself,” he says. “I wish everyone well. I’m still a big film fan. I still go to see other action films and I go to see comedies and all kinds of weird things. There is no competition.”
With Schwarzenegger, Statham and Stallone’s films not even breaking $10 million over their respective opening weekends — Parker came closest with $7 million — there might be more truth to that statement than Willis intends if the “Die Hard” faithful turn up to support him.
The genesis of ‘Yippee-ki-yay’
It turns out possibly the most famous line of dialogue in Bruce Willis’ career, “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf—er,” wasn’t even in the original “Die Hard” script. “It was an ad-lib,” Bruce Willis admits. “Alan Rickman was such a good bad guy, he was constantly picking on me. He said something to me and I just happen to let that line slip out and it just became part of the fabric of the film. It’s just amazing to me that the line has lasted this long. Kids say it to me on the street. Grandmothers. It’s a little awkward. But I’m happy that they say it.”