“I’m not doing an action movie”: Harry Potter Star Refused to Make His Hollywood Debut With Bruce Willis in $140M Movie That Was Rejected by Clint Eastwood

Harry Potter Star Refused to Make His Hollywood Debut With Bruce Willis in $140M Movie That Was Rejected by Clint Eastwood
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Alan Rickman was famously known as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series, but did you know he also starred alongside Bruce Willis in 1988’s Die Hard? The British stage actor’s career span many decades, appearing both in theater and the small screen. His first major Hollywood role was the villain Hans Gruber.

Alan Rickman in Die Hard Bruce Willis
Alan Rickman in Die Hard

Rickman was hesitant to dive into the franchise, but little did he know his presence would bring elevation to the otherwise by-the-book action film. His character perfectly complemented Willis’ John McClane, and despite his influential role, the Harry Potter star nearly turned down the offer.

RELATED: Harry Potter Star Alan Rickman Initially Refused to Work With Bruce Willis in Die Hard for a Surprising Reason Only to Become Hollywood’s Most Iconic Villain Later


Alan Rickman Was Initially Revolted With The Idea Of Starring In Bruce Willis’ Action Film

Alan Rickman 2 in Die Hard Bruce Willis
Alan Rickman in Die Hard

Speaking at a BAFTA event via Daily Express, Love Actually star Alan Rickman looked back on the early days of his movie career and recalled how clueless he was after working in theater for so many years:

I didn’t know anything about LA. I didn’t know anything about the film business. I’d never made a film before but I was extremely cheap.”

Rickman shared that he was not thrilled when his agent handed him the script of Die Hard. Upon reading it, he recalled feeling repulsed:

What the hell is this? I’m not doing an action movie.”

After much deliberation, the Sweeney Tood actor was convinced to take on the role of Hans Gruber. He saw the humor in the movie and noticed that the black characters were assigned significant roles, something that elevated Rickman’s opinion of the project:


Every single black character in that film is positive and highly intelligent. So, 28 years ago, that’s quite revolutionary, and quietly so.”

RELATED: Bruce Willis Allegedly Divorced Demi Moore For a Painful Reason After She Became the Highest Paid Actress in Hollywood: “I don’t know if I want to be married”

Alan Rickman 3 in Die Hard Bruce Willis
Alan Rickman in Die Hard

Despite being a rookie in the industry, Rickman was vocal about his suggestions and expressed his opinion on what he wanted for his character. He left a note to film producer Joel Silver saying Gruber would look more compelling in a suit than an army wear. This did not please the movie boss:

I got Joel saying, ‘Get the hell out of here, you’ll wear what you’re told.’ But when I came back, I was handed a new script. It showed that it pays to have a little bit of theatre training.”

Die Hard received several Academy Awards nominations, including Best Sound, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects.


RELATED: “So pure and beautiful”: Bruce Willis’ Daughter Rumer Shares First Look of Die Hard Star With Grand Daughter Following Long Absence after Dementia Diagnosis

Alan Rickman’s Theater Training Prepared Him For The Worst

Alan Rickman Severus Snape
Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman’s stage education gave him so much confidence and faith in his abilities. Even though the transition from theater to the big screen was a huge leap, it did not bother him a little:

I like feeling a bit unsafe, and theatre, of course, is deadly. The good thing about starting late in this career is you go: ‘Well, what’s the worst that could happen?’

Indeed, the Dogma actor stood out even more than Bruce Willis because of his ingenious suggestion to change Gruber’s look. The movie earned over $141 million worldwide against a production budget worth $25 million.


Die Hard is available to watch on Apple TV, Prime Video, and Disney+.

Source: Daily Express

RELATED: Real Reason Alan Rickman Almost Lost Hans Gruber Role in Bruce Willis’ $141M Die Hard: “I hadn’t even shot a scene!”

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Written by Ariane Cruz

Articles Published: 2149

Ariane Cruz, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.