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“What the hell is this”: Alan Rickman Owed His Fame to Jurassic Park Actor Sam Neill After Nearly Turning Down $141M Bruce Willis Movie for the Strangest Reason

Alan Rickman Owed His Fame to Jurassic Park Actor Sam Neill After Nearly Turning Down $141M Bruce Willis Movie for the Strangest Reason

Although it was Schwarzenegger and Stallone, who were ruling the ’80s with their action flicks, by the late ’80s, Bruce Willis would too become a formidable name in the action realm following Die Hard‘s success.  But it wasn’t only the Pulp Fiction Star who owed his rise to prominence to the acclaimed action flick, as Alan Rickman’s career also skyrocketed after the film’s success.

Among all the things Die Hard gets right, which separated it from other action blockbusters at the time, was Rickman’s performance as its main antagonist, which substantially elevated the film’s quality. But surprisingly, Rickman wasn’t even in the discussions of starring as Hans Gruber, as the makers initially aimed to get Sam Neill on board.

Also read: “I will never f**king talk to you again”: Harry Potter Star Threatened Kate Winslet After Starring Together in $135M Movie With Alan Rickman

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Sam Neill
Sam Neill

Sam Neill’s Exit Made Way for Alan Rickman’s Entry in Die Hard

Like Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman wasn’t in the initial scheme of things of the creators behind Die Hard, as they wanted a more notable actor for the gig of Hans Gruber. This resulted in them approaching Jurassic Park Star Sam Neill, who had an expansive filmography under his belt. But things didn’t pan out as the creators hoped, as Neil wasn’t too keen on starring in the action flick.

Fortunately, Neill’s rejection made way for  Rickman to enter the picture, as director John McTiernan was fixated on getting the actor on board after witnessing his performance in a British theater production. But like Neill, the Galaxy Quest Star wasn’t enthralled about taking the gig, as he was hesitant about working on an action flick.

Also read: Daniel Radcliffe Was Afraid He Was In Big Trouble After Ruining An Intense Harry Potter Scene As He Fell Prey To Alan Rickman’s Embarrassing Prank

Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard
Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber | Die Hard

Alan Rickman Was Reluctant to Make His Hollywood Debut With Die Hard

After witnessing Alan Rickman‘s performance, it didn’t take long for McTiernan to offer him the villainous gig in Die Hard, even though Rickman had no prior experience in the mainstream landscape. However, the Galaxy Quest Star was hesitant about taking the offer, as he didn’t want an action film to mark his Hollywood debut. But things changed after his acquaintances urged him to reconsider and the script for Die Hard eventually won him over, thanks to its intelligent writing.

“I read it and I said ‘what the hell is this, I’m not doing an action movie. And agents and people said ‘Alan, you don’t understand this doesn’t happen, you’ve only been in LA two days and you’ve been asked to do this film.’” Rickman told Boyd Hilton.

Also read: “Alan, you don’t understand, this doesn’t happen”: Alan Rickman Was Warned After He Rejected Bruce Willis’ Action Movie That Made Over $100 Million in profit

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman

Rickman’s enticing performance as Hans Gruber acted as a major contributor to Die Hard‘s success, which became one of the best action flicks of the ’80s despite stiff competition.

Die Hard is available to stream on Disney Plus.

Source: BAFTA: A Life in Pictures

Written by Santanu Roy

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with Batman and The Everly Brothers. Apart from pursuing animation and analyzing movies, he possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a content writer at Fandomwire with over 800 articles.