'Skyscraper’s' director goes deep on its inevitable 'Die Hard' comparisons and reveals if Duct Tape paid for its product placement

Rawson Marshall Thurber insists the 1988 classic should be 'on the Mount Rushmore of action pictures'
Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper
[Image: Universal Pictures]

In Skyscraper Dwayne Johnson finally answers the age-old question of just how far you can stretch a roll of Duct Tape.

 

It comes in very handy throughout the blockbuster. And yes, that pun was very much intended.

 

I recently had the chance to speak to “Skyscraper’s” writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber, and the very first question I asked was whether or not the preposterously durable adhesive company gave the film any money for its inclusion.

 

“Duct Tape paid us exactly zero dollars,” was Thurber’s response, which immediately made him realize that “Skyscraper” had missed a great business opportunity.

 

“I am sad to say. Maybe I should have consulted with them before writing the screenplay, maybe we could have saved some money.”

Since “Skyscraper” revolves around Dwayne Johnson trying to help his family escape a building populated by a team of heinous villains, you could say that the blockbuster is basically “Die Hard” with Duct Tape.

Thurber was more than willing to discuss “Skyscraper’s” inevitable comparisons to the 1988 action classic, which he insists is both “on the Mount Rushmore of action pictures” and “is a perfect film.”

“Any time you make a film where the baddie is in a building that’s over two stories you are going to be compared to ‘Die Hard.’ I suppose rightfully so.”

“So you are already cruising for a bruising right off the jump. This is my first action movie and I am going to get compared to the ‘Citizen Kane’ of action films, and that is just the cost of doing business and I am fine with this.”

But Thurber insists that the comparisons to “Die Hard” run much deeper than Johnson simply trying to get his family out of the burning building, though.

“Here is what I would love to say about ‘Die Hard’ when it comes to ‘Skycraper.’ ‘Die Hard’ is an incredible movie. It is one of my all-time favorites.”

“But I think most people don’t understand about why ‘Die Hard ‘is as great as it is. Obviously Alan Rickman is incredible, and Bruce Willis is perfect, and McTiernan’s direction is great as well.”

“But what that movie essentially is about is a husband trying to save his marriage. And that is evident in the film when McClane and Holy Gennaro have their first argument, and they break up, and the terrorists show up and he is separated from his wife and the whole movie is about him trying to get his wife back.”

“So that heart is what a lot of people forget about why ‘Die Hard’ works.“

“There’s this great scene where McClane is pulling glass out of his feet in the bathroom and he calls up Al, and says, ‘I want you to tell my wife something. She has heard me say I love you a thousand time but she has never heard me say I am sorry. I want you to tell her I’m sorry.’ And he goes, ‘You’ll tell her yourself buddy.’”

“That’s the heart of the movie. Sorry to go on at length, but the point I am trying to make is that is the thing to take from ‘Die Hard’ as much as anything. What is the heart?”

“And the heart of our story is family. Is a very simple question of, ‘If your family was in trouble and trapped in a burning building, what would you do to rescue them.’ And that’s what this movie is about.”

“It is about a mother and a father and a husband and a wife who will do anything to protect their family.”

“So look, it is a really long ride, and people who are afraid of heights like I am, have a pretty intense experience watching the movie. So it is pretty heart-pounding but I hope it is heartfelt as well.”

 
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