Die Hard Director Had Only 1 Condition to Accept Bruce Willis Starrer After Basic Instinct Director Turned it Down

Fox Studios had to change their storyline a bit to fulfill director's wishes!

Die Hard Director Had Only 1 Condition to Accept Bruce Willis Starrer After Basic Instinct Director Turned it Down


  • Fox Studios wanted Predator director John McTiernan to direct Die Hard after failed negotiations with a number of big names.
  • Several notable heroes, including Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, Sylvester Stallone had already rejected the movie until it was offered to Bruce Willis.
  • The Predator director agreed to direct the film but under a very specific condition that changed a basic detail about the storyline.
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Bruce Willis portrayed the iconic role of John McClane in the 1988 film Die Hard which is still talked about today. Being a near-perfect Christmas movie, it’s time to explore the story of how Die Hard came to be in the first place!


With several directors and big celebrities rejecting the movie, Fox Studios was still insistent on making it. After much convincing and talking, Fox finally found a director with experience working on Predator. However, the director had one simple condition before joining the movie.

Bruce Willis' Die Hard
Bruce Willis’ Die Hard is considered one of the most popular Christmas films

The Director Had One Condition Before Joining Bruce Willis’ Die Hard

With an iconic story at hand, Fox Studios found itself in a race for the copyrights of the story. After winning over the copyright, no director seemed willing to direct the film. Several celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, Clint Eastwood had already rejected the role of John McClane in Die Hard.

Bruce Willis in Die Hard
Bruce Willis in Die Hard

Also read: Samuel L. Jackson’s Pulp Fiction Saved Bruce Willis’ Acting Career After His $15 Million Worth Box Office Bomb With Tom Hanks

The hunt for an actor was going on when Fox Studios approached Predator director John McTiernan. Having worked alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the action movie Predator, McTiernan initially refused the offer but Fox Studios wasn’t willing to give up. After much convincing and countless discussions, John McTiernan agreed to direct the movie but on a very specific condition.

As per a report by Collider, Tiernan only accepted the job if Fox Studios changed the villains from terrorists to thieves. The report revealed that Tiernan felt that the movie needed a hint of joy and that having thieves as villains is less serious than terrorists. The executives at Fox caved into the demand and hired John McTiernan as the director. For the lead actor, they had no choice but to hire Bruce Willis, who was an unknown at that time.


Suggested: Bruce Willis’ Legacy Gets Celebrated as Die Hard Returns To Theatres, Fans Get Hyped For the “Greatest Christmas movie of all time”

A Miracle Happened For Bruce Willis For Die Hard

Bruce Willis in Unbreakable
Bruce Willis as David Dunn in Unbreakable

Related: “Grateful and thankful”: Bruce Willis Won’t Even Let Dementia Take Away His Life’s Greatest Gift as He Makes His Final Stand

Despite only starting off, Bruce Willis was attached to shooting Moonlighting when Cybill Shepherd got pregnant. The comedy-drama series took a break of 11 weeks from shooting which was exactly what Bruce Willis needed for Die Hard (via EW).


“I think I’d already read the script for Die Hard once, but had to pass because of [Moonlighting]. As it turns out, a miracle happened —Cybill Shepherd got pregnant and they shut down the show for 11 weeks – just the right amount of time for me to run around over at Nakatomi Tower.”

With John McTiernan as the director and Bruce Willis as the lead, the actor was given $5 million for his debut role which was more than enough for Willis. Having iconic one-liners and plenty of action to go around, Die Hard received a rating of 8.2/10 on IMDB and 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. The 1988 movie is available to rent on Apple TV+ in the U.S.


Written by Visarg Acharya

Articles Published: 2267

Visarg Acharya, Associate Content Writer, has been heavily involved in movies, series, and history. Having an experience of 2 years in the field of content writing, Visarg is a seasoned writer. Having a degree in Physics, Visarg Acharya has published a dissertation alongside a plethora of poems and short stories along the way.