Just a quick heads up, the episode today will be playing clips from a rated R film and some of those clips are going to have some salty language. So if you have any kids listening, you may want to put on some headphones.

Hey, this is David Nelson, creative director of the Backlot Podcast. We have a special episode today. We have instructor extraordinaire, senior directing instructor here at the New York Film Academy Nick Sivakumaran. How you doing, Nick?

Pretty good. How are you doing, Dave?

I am excellent. So the audience should know, Nick and I have known each other for a while our entire time in Los Angeles.

That’s right.

Went to USC together. We’ve been teaching here together ever since I stopped. He still continues to teach. I now do this stuff. We’ll cut that out.

Yeah. We’ve no yeah from the East Coast all the way to the West Coast.


Just like John McClane.

Exactly, I’m from Jersey though. He’s he’s he’s a New Yorker, but not not New York City.

I lived in the city.

Did you live in the city.

I lived I was in town, Glen Oaks. I lived all over, but then we moved to Rockland County.

Oh, nice. How old were you when you did that?


Okay. And here we are today. Here to talk to you about a movie of our youth, Die Hard.

Yippee ki ya motherfucker.

Just an awesome action packed romantic love story as we’ve discovered Christmas movie, romantic love story, a you know a film for for everyone.

Perfectly described. One of my favorites.

So tell me when you first saw it. Like, how old were you when you saw Die Hard? What was the.

This will age me but I was 15 years old. I saw it. I don’t know if it was opening weekend, but I saw it with my dad and my neighbor. And it was probably one of the first rated R movies. I don’t know how I convinced my father to take us to see it, but.

Do you want to know what my first rated R movie was that my parents took me to unknowingly.



Yes. Wait Flashdance was rated R. Yeah it was rated R.


Okay. That’s unknowingly.

Yeah. I mean.


So my mom my mom was a dancer and she’s like, oh it’s a movie about dancing.

That’s awesome.

So I was like I think 8. I don’t remember how old I was but first of all, I think we could do this is like a Christmas podcast, even though Bruce Willis didn’t think it was a Christmas movie, apparently.

Is that what he said?

Yeah. That’s apparently like there’s.

Yeah, but I don’t think it was designed as a Christmas. It came out in the summer. Right. So it wasn’t designed as a Christmas movie, but it is the best Christmas movie ever.

No, totally. I was listening like even the from the very beginning. He asked for Christmas music. Guys like.

He’s like this is Christmas.

Do you got any Christmas music.

This is Christmas music.

Wait. So how? Because I know when we’re talking about what movie to choose. And right and I was. You said I think you said 80s films.

Yeah. Like 80s, 80s, 90s, 80s.

I got to tell you, because whenever, you know, the first day of class, whenever we talk to students about, you know, talk about like your favorite films or films that have influenced you and stuff. I always say die hard. And it’s sad that now most of my students have no idea what I’m talking about. And I have to explain, I go die hard or we talk about directors and I mention John McTiernan and no one knows him. And when I mentioned Predator and and they go oh yeah yeah yeah, of course they know that.

So they know, yeah, well, I guess that’s been remade right there’s been.

Probably yeah. But die hard’s got like five of them now, right. So you’d think they would know that.

So they just they don’t know the series or they haven’t seen the first one.

I don’t know. But then it’s also like, you know, everyone sits there and they go around the room. They’re like, you know, mean streets and taxi driver and Pulp Fiction. And I always I talk about like Bridge on the River Kwai and Casablanca and Die Hard. And they’re like, who is this teacher?

All right. So, yeah, I mean, that’s why die hard.

Two things. One. I mean, I think it’s the nostalgia, right? Like, I was 15 years old. I saw it with my dad and my neighbor was one of the first films I saw rated R film in the theater. And it was so violent. While my father you know, he had no idea. He just took us to the movie. And I remember still thinking it was the greatest movie I ever saw when I was 15. And I would just watch it constantly. So I think it goes back to that time period. But then it holds up. And I think it’s the I think it’s the best action film ever made. That’s why.

All right. I mean, I just watched it again last night. Obviously, we’re the same age I grew up with it. It’s an amazing film. I think so. But like, what about it? I mean, I want to break all that down.Yeah what about it holds up?

Well, you know, when I say holds up. I think it’s it’s so. It’s so well constructed. I love how everything just works together. The plants and payoffs. It’s such a self-contained film. Right. Just also just, you know, I mean, literally self-contained in that building. And, you know, the story works so well and so many different levels.

It it’s such a good story. And like I forgot that the story’s about. It’s like the building and the theivery, the theivery, the robbery, all of it’s like second place to this romantic.

It is it’s romantic, right?

Not only is it romantic, cause it’s funny there’s a lot of things that don’t play to today. I thought.

Like, what.

Alright so like in the very beginning. The woman’s like, can I have a drink? And then Holly turns to her and she’s like, oh, yeah. You know, you’re you’re almost she’s just about to give birth. She’s like, yeah. Go. Go ahead. Have a drink.

Jenny, it’s five forty. Go join the party. Have some champagne. You’re making me feel like Ebenezer Scrooge.

Thanks a lot Ms. Genero. Do you think the baby can handle a little sip?

That baby’s ready to tend bar.

That’s true.

Like you can’t do that. Honestly, like in the party, when I was watching the party, there’s only one African-American character and he’s the guy serving drinks.

Oh, really.

Yeah. In the party. So like there were little things.

The terrorists are more diverse, I think.

Yeah. Yeah absolutely.

Oh that’s interesting.

But like, honestly, on the flip side, I was thinking like you look at Holly and she is I mean, the whole thing is predicated on the idea of this woman who is not going to just. She has her own career. She travels across the country with their kids. He’s this old fashioned dude who wants her to come back. And ultimately, he goes to her in the end.


But I interrupted you. You were so. Yeah. What. The greatest.

I don’t know. You know, and it’s again, like I do think there’s so much nostalgia there. And like, you know, you just go back to that. That summer like being a teenager. Watching that. But the fact that it plays now, like we just mentioned like Christmas it plays every Christmas. Right. Just nonstop. I saw it when did Alan Rickman die. He when Alan Rickman passed away. There was a retrospective on his work and I saw a double feature of Die Hard and Robin Hood, prince of theives,.

He was. He was great in it.

Yeah, but it was just like, you know, like the ultimate villain. And watching Die Hard and especially 35 film print. You know, I saw that and I was like, oh, my God, I love this. Just like how I you know, I used to Robin Hood. Not so much.

Yeah no.

That was but when I was I was watching yesterday and I had it with the commentary on with John McTiernan. And it was it was so like and I was sitting there going like I’ve never seen this with the commentary. And I’ve had this DVD or different versions of it Blu ray, whatever, for so long. I’ve never heard his commentary, but I don’t know. Sometimes, you know, you have some really good ones. This guy. He gave some good feedback here and there. But there was it wasn’t ultimately.

Yeah, I don’t.

I don’t think it was enough.

I don’t remember a lot of like commentaries I’ve watched where I’ve been like, I really learned something.

Yeah. Because a lot of times I think it’s they’re sitting around watching it and like reminiscing about what happened on set or they’re just joking around they’re drunk or something. There’s there’s rare commentaries that work. This one, though, is him and the production designer. So the production designer’s going on about of course, production design and Fox Plaza, which that’s another thing I think why this film, why I love it so much, is living in the West Side every day I drive by the 405, whatever the 10 and I see the building and I’m always like, Nakatomi Plaza.

Right is it is. So even though the base of it, where like the guy, that’s all the same with the building there, right?

I’m pretty sure. I’m pretty sure they actually didn’t they. Oh man I don’t know enough about that. I thought they blew up like the first or second floor because it was in construction when they shot it there.

Oh right.



They were under construction or just building it. So they were like, you know, we could do whatever we want to the building I guess.

It’s weird for like the first two years here, I would pass by that building and I’d be like, I know it. That’s from. That’s a familiar building. I don’t I don’t know when it finally clicked, I’m like, die hard. The other thing I do want to say is on the flip side, I did notice there are three African-American characters, well-placed. One guy is, you know, of course, Alan Rickman’s second. But then there was also forgot his name in the limo.

Argyle. I’m your limo driver.

Oh Argyle.


And then Sergeant Powell a hugely important character.

And you had Agent Johnson. Remember that guy.

Oh, God. Yeah.

I’m Agent Johnson. This is Special Agent Johnson.

Oh how you doing?

No relation.

The other agent Johnson.

Yeah the other agent Johnson. And it’s something it’s so funny because I I still I don’t know, I quote the movie. And when I was watching it yesterday, I was thinking like there’s other lines that came up and I was like, oh, that’s a pretty good line. I didn’t even think about that. But there’s the line that I quote all the time is the I was in junior high dickhead. Remember that line. And I say that. And no one knows what I’m talking about. I just I say it to Rick Ross a lot, actually. He’s old.

And well, the thing like. And it’s it’s funny because again I just watched it last night. And at the time I was like, yeah, because this guy is old. And now it’s like, oh, my God, I’m old because. So what were they referring to is one guy says.

Just like fuckin Saigon ay slick.

And then his partner, Agent Johnson, says.

I was in junior high dickhead.

And I gotta to tell you. It came back in. Which one was it? The fourth one. Live free or die hard? I remember there was like this one line where he said something like someone said hi I’m Agent Johnson and you just saw Bruce Willis give him a look.

Oh really.

And I laughed. And I’m looking around, like, I don’t think anyone gets this in the theater. Like, how come there’s no diehard fans like literally?

That’s a great moment when the because like, you have this asshole head cop who comes in and screws everything up. But when he turns, he goes, we’re gonna need two new FBI guys.

I guess we’re going to need some new FBI agents. That’s awesome.

We’re gonna need some more FBI guys I guess.

So John McTiernan did this first one, he also directed the third one, and everyone like loves the third one. I didn’t like it at all. And I remember clearly being so excited to see it.

What was the remind me?

Third one was in New York City. And it’s him and Samuel Jackson running around defuzing bombs. And it’s Hans’s brother,.


Right? And I was like, what thehell? What is this movie? This isn’t. And I think what I was annoyed about was that diehard was about the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Right. And also somebody like trapped in a building or an airport or a plane or you know whatever, all those variations of that. And New York City just running around like it didn’t make any sense. And after I saw the movie, I read somewhere that it was originally a script for Lethal Weapon it was supposed to be a lethal weapon. I was like, that makes sense, but die hard. And then the movie or I think in the beginning of the movie he’s not with his wife, with Holly. Right. And like the whole.

Right. Right. Right.

And actually, even now, what is die hard five, six, whatever came out, divorced. They don’t even talk anymore.

Yeah see. You’re totally right

Like that defeats the purpose right if the whole.

No. And it’s something I’d never thought of, which is you’re right. The first one, he’s stuck in this building. The second one he’s stuck in an airport. And so you get that joke of like, oh, here we go again.


But like I mean, maybe you can get away with a third. But you’re right that.

But the third one they tried to tie in it was Hans’s brother out for revenge. And like and now he’s back in New York City. Right. So I don’t know.

Well and we were talking about it earlier, which is that the coolest thing about this film I think for me when I was re watching, it was how much time the whole setup wasn’t devoted to the terrorists that happened like this it was. You know, it completely was about his relationship with her, about the complexity of it. It was. And that how this ultimately brought them back together.

And you know, and the first one it did that, the second one also, she’s up in the plane.

Mm hmm.

And that’s why he’s trying to bring her down.

That’s right. Why would you ruin that. This is turning into a critique.

No no. But it’s fun, but I think yeah maybe she. What’s her name? Bonnie Bedelia wanted more money to be in it or I don’t know.

That’s okay. He could refer to her.

Yeah he could he could? But you know, what’s interesting is the first one like what you’re saying about the setup is that’s that’s why I love. I don’t know I love the script because there were so many plants right throughout it. And all these moments of exposition and the way it’s like the opening they’re on the you know, we were just watching right now that he’s on the plane. And we find out that he’s a cop from New York City like the first or second line. Right. When he’s talking to the dude next to him. And like the whole thing with Argyle. Argyle makes fun of him saying, oh, you thought she was just going to come running back to you, right?

Why didn’t you come with her man? What’s up?

Cause I’m a New York cop I got a six month backlog of New York scumbags I’m still trying to put behind bars. I can’t just pick up and go that easy.

In other words, you thought she wasn’t gonna make it out here and she’d come crawling on back to you. So why bother to pack right?

Like I said you’re very fast Argyle.

And Gennaro, like her last name, was not in the. You know, is not in the directory.

No, it’s tight.

It is.

I was realizing that like everything. You know what’s crazy? My entire life. Like every time I take a flight, I’m always like, take off your shoes.

You want to know the secret to surviving air travel after you get where you’re going. Take off your shoes and your socks. Then you walk around on the rug barefoot and make fists with your toes.

And I don’t.

Does it work?

You know, not really. I’d rather take a shower, go to sleep but like I would do that. That was always in my mind every time I’d get to the hotel room and I forgot till I just watched again I’m like. Oh, yeah, that’s for that’s for this movie. That’s what that’s from. And then I’m like, I can’t believe I’ve been thinking this my entire life for plot point for a way for this guy to not have any shoes the entire movie.

Genius but it’s great though. Again, it’s like snuck in there. Right. And then you realize. Oh, yeah. That’s why he’s barefoot.

Yeah yeah.

And the Rolex. All right. That’s another. Do you remember the Rolex?

I yeah yeah.

So in the beginning they yeah. She’s there for the Japanese company. And that guy. What’s Hart Bochner’s?




Ellis the you know who’s doing coke on her desk or whatever.

I was just making a call and this was the nearest phone.

But when he yeah, he’s bragging about the Rolex. And the Rolex is the final thing that Hans is holding onto on the roof. Right when he’s falling off and he unbuckle unclasps the Rolex. Genius.

I didn’t I never put that together. That’s great.

Let me ask you something so. What do you think the end of the film? You have this great moment. Hans falls off. All that stuff and then you have this main bad guy coming back to life.

Yeah how does that happen? Is that what you’re. I have no idea. He’s hanging dead on the highest floor. And what somehow falls? Or did they bring him down?

.No. He came down himself with a gun to take out john McClane.

I mean I.

I think that’s that’s my weakest part of the film.

I agree. But it does allow Sergeant Powell his redemptive moment.

I know.

Which is funny because I kind of like. I love that he was like this pacifist. He had this bad experience and only in the 80s are they like, no, no, we got to give him redemption. He needs to shoot someone dead at the end of the movie.

He’s got to draw his gun again. But it’s what it’s great because it happens. Also, the first like that moment’s beautiful. It’s the first time they see each other. Right. Like they’ve been talking all this time and they see each other. And then when the guy shows up, I think still when I watch it, I remember even the first time you know I’m like 15 watching it. And I did feel like, come on, this is crazy. Like the music plays, he comes out slow motion, out of the fog, you know. And then Al shoots him and we don’t even see I think we hear the gunshots. Right. And then it’s that big moment of seeing him. And I don’t know, I still when I watch it now, I’ll still watch when. What’s the guy’s name? Karl. Right. Who? The bad guy. I think it’s Karl. When Karl gets.

Yeah yeah.

When he gets killed, when he’s hanging. I’ll stop watching and pause and I go, yeah. He’s not really dead. He doesn’t look like he’s his neck’s broken and he’s hanging there that long.

Well I mean clearly he’s not. But I. Yeah.

Well I don’t know.

Everyone walks past him. He’s just hanging there.

But that’s. Exactly everyone comes running by and he was still hanging there oh damn. That makes it worse. But I did. I do look at it going oh man everything. I enjoy everything in the film. That’s a one part I’m like it’s there just for his redemption.

Yeah. But it’s still a great redemption. And like, you want it for him and it’s a happy moment. So I don’t. I forgive it very quickly.

OK. All right. That’s fine.

You know something else I noticed that I like. Cause you see I mean, this is this disaster film, final ambulance, people kissing moment, which like is in every movie. And it’s always almost handled horribly.


Like I love that they get into the limo that’s been waiting for them the whole time and that the kiss is handled in the window as they’re driving away.

Oh that’s great.

You know, like.

That’s classic yeah.


And then it wait. Isn’t Argyle. He’s like, it’s snowing cause all the papers flowing coming down again. Christmas movie come on. That is. No no I was thinking that die hard 2. They do the same thing. They’re kissing and the explosion behind him.

Mm hmm that’s right.

Again it’s about it’s a romance. You know, my wife has watched it but I remember once really pitching it hard as a romance. She goes diehard. I know what die hard is. I go you don’t know it the way it’s supposed to be. It’s a romance.

Yeah, it is a romance. I totally agree.

But, you know what? Because I was thinking about that driving here like okay why do I like die hard so much? Right. But part of it is that that every man. Right. Bruce Willis is like he’s could be any of us, even though I mean, he’s a cop a New York City cop, but he’s not like when you think about Rambo and Commando. Right. You really think about Stallone and Schwarzenegger. A thousand bullets running by them, right. They don’t get shot. They don’t get hurt or anything. I mean, this guy’s bleeding his feet. He’s got shot, whatever, like he’s injured.

And he keeps having these heartfelt moments with with Sergeant Powell.


Yeah. He’s not. And in fact, I noticed they make fun of. Which is what I wanted to like. You know, he’s this obviously this man who’s. But I like that you point that out because the the the Superman with the you know they they come in and the guy gets pricked by the rose. And he’s like do you remember what he says. He’s like, ow that hurts. Or it’s like.

Wait who said that? One of the.

One of the special forces or SWAT guys.

Oh yeah. Yeah I do remember that.

And they kind of – they’re just all made to be like this tough group of guys who are just fools at the end of the day so.


Yet, you know, having this hyper masculine guy be the.

What. But you know, when you think about like just the opening, I think it’s like the opening shot. Is he’s scared to fly. You know, like you see him like. I think it’s his hand, you see his hand gripping the armrest and he’s scared. And then we find out he’s a cop. But that’s why I think it works so well when he does that whole you know, when he’s in the thingy. What’s it called?

Oh, the the air duct.

Well yeah the classic line in the air duct about like oh just the wrong place or whatever. Wrong guy at the wrong time.

Come to California.

Oh yeah. Have a few laughs.

Come out to California. We’ll get together. Have a few laughs. Now I know what a TV dinner feels like.

Did you so like when you watched die hard. Do you remember. Were you a moonlighting fan?

I was a moonlighting fan.


Moonlighting came first.


Yeah so I don’t remember how I felt about, you know, it worked, though. I do remember. I don’t think I had any problem transferring into him as that character,.

Because I didn’t I didn’t watch moonlighting, so I didn’t know him. You know, I just I was like Bruce. I had no idea who he was at all when I saw him. But I think. I remember talking to people and like especially adults at that time, they all loved him so much from moonlighting, so it was like this similar character, right?

Yeah. Yeah. He was like a private eye.

Slick talking and you know.


Yeah. That’s something that I don’t know. I think it’s the Bruce. Like whenever I think about Bruce Willis. I always think about him like in Die Hard. So when you see him now. You know, I saw what death wish or I saw these other films with him where he’s just like too masculine, like he was in The Expendables and he’s too much of a tough guy. And I’m like, that’s not the that’s not John McClane. That’s not the Bruce Willis, you know, like Live Free or Die Hard is like the fourth one. And he is he’s too much of a badass in that.

Well, yeah. I feel like there was an episode in the office about this.

You know what here’s the thing about die hard four die hard one. The original John McClane is just this normal guy. He’s just a normal New York City cop who gets his feet cut and gets beat up. But he’s an everyday guy in Die Hard 4 he is jumping a motorcycle into a helicopter in the air. You know he’s invincible. It’s just sort of lost from die hard 1. It’s not Terminator.

That’s kind of I mean, I don’t want to start sounding like an old fuddy duddy, but it’s like, isn’t that where all these shows movies are going like that whole romance, that whole thing that connected me to it, that brought like humor and life to it. Like, I mean, so I just saw John Wick 3.


And like I mean, yeah. Look, it is an amazing act of choreography. I have never seen anything like that before, but like there’s not. I love dogs. I don’t want to watch a man’s serial murder. Thousands of people.

Well, the first one, though. Do you like the first one?

Honestly like again, I think.

The choreography.

Yeah cause I might have like this third one even more than the first one.


Yeah cause I didn’t love the first one. So like I mean the third one.

I see I enjoyed I mean I love dogs. But the first one because it was the dog, but it was the the dead wife. You know, again, like that’s kind of what we connected to. But then it just went like, you know, went into that world of assassins. And I didn’t really. The second one, I can’t even remember the third one when the third one ended. I could be honest. I was like, are you kidding me? There’s gonna be another one. Like, he’d just bounced off the floor like 10 stories up, like. So. Yeah. You’re like, you know, that’s kind of like that superhuman. You know, you’re talking about.


That John McClane wasn’t. I think that’s what you need in these films for us to connect to. Right. Like to emotionally connect to them. So I was gonna ask you something about Bruce Block’s class. We took visual expression as Bruce Block.

Yes, we did.

He spoke in that class about diehard. And when he was talking about just visual expression and contrast and infinity and I remember at first I went. This is nonsense. Like directors don’t do all this. Come on. And then he proved it right when he’d show us clips and everything. And then he talked about Die Hard. And that’s like when I really paid attention to him. He talked about Jan de Bont the cinematographer, and about how he had red, white and blue in almost every image.

Do you remember this?


Yeah it was really interesting. Just that whole patriotic Americans versus the Germans, you know. And and it was all about appealing to the subconscious, you know, because I didn’t notice that. But of course, we probably feel that way. Right. Which is what that whole class was about.

Yeah. Yeah.

I think that’s amazing. I mean, I talk about that when I discuss visual expression with my students and then we’ll go back. I mean, when I watch it, I’ll just look for it and I go, yeah, there’s a little red, white, and blue. But I don’t know. I don’t know. How do you know if it subconsciously affected you or not? But the fact that a DP like actually thought about doing that. That’s pretty cool.

Yeah, absolutely. Didn’t he. I’m trying to remember didn’t. Wasn’t there also something about like the structure versus chaos of it like that when the building was structured versus like towards the end everything is a little more Dutch angled. I didn’t even think about that.

Well you talk about that, but also much more handheld like it was much more hand-held moving shots. And it’s funny, in his commentary, he was talking about how traditionally we always have moving shots and we have to wait till the shot stops moving, then cut. Right. Or static to static shots moving to moving shots. And he said, you know, that’s crazy. We don’t have to do that. So I just cut whenever I want. And it’s mainly it cuts because he wants it to be dynamic and you know crazy. And I could see that happening, like you said, more towards the end, or just like in any action scene. Right. But yeah, there’s a lot of hand-held stuff at the end of the film.

Die Hard I think it felt very I mean, it’s an incredibly tight, incredibly structured movie.


Like you were saying like every especially in the opening like after a while. Like, I don’t know. There’s so much action that I start to. No I. It never loses its sense of humor. It never loses. Every one little thing like there’s not a wasted moment in that movie.

Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what I would think. And that’s when I. Yeah. When I think about all the scenes, like when we talk to our students, when we say, you know, what’s the job of the scene? What’s the function of the scene? And right. And some scenes are repetitive. So they get rid of them either in writing it or in post. I don’t in die hard and I haven’t seen in the DVD like the deleted scenes. I’m curious.


Because it is so tight. Right. Like everything has to be in there. You know, you were talking before about with masculinity. What about like the whole cowboy theme in the film? Like how they’re always talking about cowboys.

Yippee ki yay.

Well, that’s the big one. But from the reasoning when he like.

He’s Roy.

Roy, right.

You know my name. But who are you? Just another American who saw too many movies as a child? Another orphan of a bankrupt culture who thinks he’s John Wayne. Rambo. Marshal Dillon.

I was always kind of partial to Roy Rogers, actually I really liked those sequence shirts.

Well, that also goes with what you were saying with kind of the America vs. the European thing, too. Yeah.

Oh, yeah. When when Hans. When he starts giving his demands. Right. What he wants. And it’s all the fake demands. It’s all about like international terrorists being released.


There’s no I don’t think there’s any like, you know, white supremacist. Right or he wanted Americans. It’s all like he said something about Sri Lanka or Iran. I don’t know what. You know, like everywhere else. So, again, it does go back to that America. And then when the guy talking about Saigon and stuff right.

Right. Right.

It’s all about America. And even at the end like that last he says this line then about. When he’s got the gun strapped to his back, right taped his back and he says this thing about, oh, you think you’re John Wayne going off in the sunset with Grace Kelly. And he says that was. That’s Gary Cooper.

Still the cowboy. Mr. McClain, Americans all alike. Well this time, John Wayne does not walk off into the sunset with Grace Kelly.

That’s Gary Cooper asshole.

But that’s from like high noon. And I remember thinking, you know, again, I was like, oh, that’s high noon that’s one guy standing, you know, facing down all the villains. Right. All the bad guys.

Alright so.

So yeah I think it just goes back to that cowboy theme about, you know.

Well, so that’s interesting.

It’s black and white right.

Like, look at look at. I mean, yes, he’s European, but like, he’s German. I mean, if I think about old Westerns and kind of like the German with like that facial hair and the like is do you feel like Hans Gruber is in, like this is in any way a Western? Hans Gruber is like. You know like stealing from.

I think at the end when he’s got them, he’s got Holly with him, right? Like you see that classic showdown right.

It’s a bank robbery. He’s got bearer bonds.

I am interested in the six hundred and forty million dollars in negotiable bearer bonds that you have locked in your vault.

Like that is very Western.

I mean, he. When John McClane takes him out and Al takes out Karl. Like the same it looked like, you know, a fast draw. I think it.


They didn’t show it. But that’s what has to be what happens right.

And it’s a revolver.

Yeah, exactly. Six shooter. Yeah there’s the Western theme. There’s the I mean, I do think it goes back to this America all about patriotism. You know, with the red, white and blue.

I mean, it’s about a New Yorker who went out west and got in a gunfight. Yeah totally.

Oh that’s interesting, I didn’t think about that.

They bring in gunships. Like what?

But they say that just. They’re like predictable it’s the FBI. And like they know that we’re gonna send them. We’re gonna wire C4 on the roof and send the hostages there. You know, like I think that’s why I like what we talk about, how tight it is. It’s when we watch films now and I always watch it and I go, yeah, that was fun to see. But then when we start analyzing it, it’s like, what the hell is your plan? Like like that was I don’t even understand what they were doing there. I feel like die hard, like they had a plan. Like I thought Hans. He knew every step of the way, like what was going to happen. Right like cut the power and the locks open. Right. I think that was brilliant. And that’s and that was also Alan Rickman’s first movie, which is insane,.

Right. I mean, I almost wonder now, like now the movie would be about Hans Gruber and his group.

Oh, my God.

Stealing the money and getting away with it.


Like, I don’t know. Maybe it’s gone too far.

I can see that movie.

Right. Because it was he was very Ocean’s Eleven about the whole thing.

He was. But it was also what was interesting. Was like Ocean’s Eleven. It was all in his head. Like he didn’t share that with anyone.


Like you remember the other his henchmen, the computer expert. Right. He didn’t know. He was like, I can’t get through this lock. And he’s like, you asked for a miracle. I give you the FBI.

Asked for a miracle Theo. I give you the FBI.

It’s like you didn’t think to share that information at all. So these guys have blindly followed him. Right.

Right. Right.

That’s that’s a good leader.

Yeah I mean, what a great. I mean, I just think about his first real interaction after walking in and threatening people with guns is he he starts talking about the the suit like.

Love it.

It’s like apparently Arafat also you know gets his suit made at the same place in London and then he shoots the guy.

What and again, which is. It just wasn’t – you’re not like the classic James Bond villain, you know, is was like a different type of a bad guy.


Just like how we you know, you’re saying like it’s a different kind of hero. It’s not Schwarzeneggar and Stallone. And in those movies, you had the same bad guys. Right.


I mean, I can’t even remember. They’re all the same. This is the same type of thing. I think, like it’s.

You you did have the Karl. There’s always a Karl in every movie.

There’s gotta be the sidekick right.

Yeah right who has the final. He’s the really scary one to fight with.

Yeah, that’s true.

I’m thinking of commando and there’s like that knife fight.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Even with Karl they’re like that whole thing about he’s not just like the main henchman. He hates him because this guy killed his brother. Right that was a big moment right when he was.


Kills the brother who puts the ho ho ho, whatever and then. That was a good moment also.

Yeah, it turned Karl into this.

Yes. So then he hated the guy like he didn’t care about Hans anymore. He just wanted to kill him.

There was that great moment when Holly realizes that John is still alive because Karl goes insane and he starts throwing something like he’s still alive.

She goes only one man can make someone that angry. Like yeah

He’s still alive. Only John can drive somebody that crazy.

So what I mean, because when I think about Die Hard, it was kind of that first. Like, I mean. All right. That’s not true. There’s always like disaster movies like in an airplane. But when I what I guess in my memory, like the terrorist movie in a building, it was like when the building blew up. I will say part of me, like gasped I forgot that part where they blew up that floor.

Oh, yeah.

And now, you know, since 9/11, I saw I was and I guess I’ve seen it since, but I don’t know if I’ve watched the whole movie through. But when that happened, I definitely I was like.


Oh, my God. Yeah I can’t believe they did that. But. All right. So you see that I mean, I think of like die hard on a battleship with Steven Seagal. There was like, what are the other movies that kind of die hard that came off of that.

Die hard on a bus is pretty much speed, right?

Speed yeah. Jon de Bont who is the DP for that.

I know that he did. Him and McKiernan did Hunt for Red October also.

Right great movie.

Die Hard on a plane was like executive decision with Kurt Russell.

Executive Decision.

Or Air Force One.

Air Force One.

Die hard in the white house. Can you say that die hard in the White House is kind of like.


White house down or what’s other one. Olympus has fallen.

Olympus has fallen.

Also, I think it’s anytime someone is just trapped somewhere where terrorists attack. That’s a die hard. But it’s one location. Right. Which again, is my problem with die hard three and four and five and six, whatever. But yeah die hard 2. In an airport.

Home alone.

There it is. Die hard is basically a remake of home alone.

I love. Ah shoot. What’s the one on the ship?

Under seige.

Under seige. I love under seige.

But that is such like that is the exact die hard on a boat.


Because it’s not only just he’s the cook, but he’s like a cook who is like a Navy SEAL. Like, I don’t even know why I can’t remember the story but why is he a cook? It makes no sense he’s not even like undercover. Like at least Speed when they say die hard on a bus. It’s not really because there’s a whole other thing going on in that film right.

Yeah, yeah.

But just the fact that you’re trapped in one location, that’s kind of the phrase die hard on whatever.

Yeah. And I mean that. But that speaks to this movie which.


You know, everything became die hard on a.

So that’s interesting. Like when you think about John McKiernan, I told you, I talk about it with my students. They’ve no clue who he is. I start explaining it just with die hard and Hunt for Red October and Predator. And then I stop because you were like. What was it 10 years ago or five years ago when he got arrested? He went to jail. It was this whole big thing with the jail for wiretapping an agent. And yeah.

He wiretapped an agent?

He wiretapped someone. I don’t know if it was an agent or producer.

I mean, that’s horrible. You shouldn’t do that. But like, I could totally understand why he’d want to wiretap an agent.

He was part of some huge case and he went to jail. But before that, though, I mean, he after these huge movies, the 80s, early 90s, and then he did this film called Roller Ball, which is a remake.

The remake oh the remake.

Awful. But I don’t think he’s done a film in 10, 15 years. So I don’t know. I still talk about him like, oh, this guy’s a great director, but I don’t know what he’s doing now so.

I feel like wiretapping an agent, though that’s not bad enough to not talk about him in a class that almost gives him. That’s character.

Oh man.

I never thought of it as a Christmas movie until someone said it. And then it’s like it’s it’s obviously a Christmas movie.

But even that. Wait you said that Bruce Willis says it’s not.

Yeah. I there. I saw some, like, YouTube thing where he said, no, of course it’s not.

Now, please listen very carefully. Die hard is not a Christmas movie. It’s a god damn Bruce Willis movie. So a yippee ki yay to all of you mother fuckers. Good night.

But like I think even the director has said I think I think he has.

Because, I mean, I know it was a summer movie. All right. But what is it AMC or FX or whatever channel it’s always a punishment. Christmas now.


Always just on repeat.

I mean it’s not a Christmas story but it’s definitely.

But that’s. But when you think about it you said it. It’s about a guy trying to reconnect with his wife. Right. Travelling across the country. Like that’s like all these holiday movies like planes, trains and automobiles. You know, it’s like it’s always like a almost like a roadtrip film. But all in one building.

And a guy who like honestly is not he doesn’t come across. I forgot this. As like a good guy, like his kids, he’s like. He’s like, I don’t know if I’ll even see my kids.

Yeah he’s not. She’s like, our kids would love to see you. I’m in Pomona. You know that in that scene when he’s talking with her. There’s a moment when, like her assistant comes running in and then she’s like, oh, sorry. And she looks at him. I don’t know if you remember this. And he just goes he gives her a look again because he’s kind of a dick the whole time right.

Yeah, right.

All right. So I’m going to ask you question. Define the three act structure for die hard.

You’re putting me on the spot. All right. So.

Cause I was thinking about it.

I mean, so. All right. So it basically the second they walk out of the elevator and shoot up, we’re in the second act. Right.

No. For me, the end of the first act is right when he runs. Like they take hostage his wife hostage and he’s free. I mean, he’s running with the gun and barefoot.

I guess what I’m saying is like, that’s the end of it. That’s.

That’s the end of first act.

Yeah. Like when they’ve taken they come out, they take it.



Conflict is locked.


Inciting incident.

Oh the inciting incident is. Who comes in first? I don’t even. Oh god, I’ve got to go back and remember.

It’s interesting because because usually I think the inciting incident. Right. It’s one introduction of the main conflict. So I think it’s when the bad guys arrive. But that doesn’t affect the main character yet.Oh, that’s interesting.

You know so. Like when we see Hans walking into the building or showing up in the truck or whatever it is, because otherwise it’s just a regular you know guy coming to see his wife at a Christmas party. So it almost no, at first no.

No this is good.

No, no. Because part of what I was thinking, I didn’t look at the two hours, the movie’s over two hours, but I thought at first the inciting incident would be was when that happened, when the terrorists take over the building. And that’s the main conflict, right, introduction of the main conflict is there.

Unless you’re saying like the relationship’s the main conflict.

No, no. When the terrorists when when Hans comes out of the elevator, machine guns go off. John McClane runs.

They now have the building beginning of the second act.

But is that. I feel like that’s too far into the movie to be the point of attack. That should be the inciting.

Oh, I don’t yeah I don’t think that’s the inciting incident.

Yeah so yeah. So that should be.

So what happens before? How do they infiltrate? Exactly.

You just see them. They show up slow, like, you know, the truck comes and goes under underground. They just walk through the front doors.

So Kareem rebounds, right. Feeds worthy on the break.

I think it’s like he shoots. He scores. He. They kill a couple of the lobby attendants.

Boom. Two points. We’re in.

Well, that’s what makes. That’s interesting because that’s kind of what I saying earlier, it’s like they’re not really part of the story until they’re part of the story.

Yeah. Yeah.

So like unless we say the inciting incident, nobody did anything stupid earlier. Nobody like let them in. Nobody.


It’s the 80s. So it’s kind of like just just type in your name and go up to the floor you need.

Well I think he had. But it’s also supposed to be like Christmas. So it’s dead like there’s no one around. Right. Like it was abandoned when they walked in.

Right. So is the inciting incident the second he shoots the guard and then they just basically go and take over. To me, that’s you’re right. That’s the same thing. What is the inciting incident. Well, I never even thought about that.

Just because, you know, when we think inciting is like the moment the conflicts introduced.


So to me, that is that moment, right. When these bad guys show up. But it’s too far. Like if you look at the timeline of the film, isn’t it within 20 minutes when.

Well, yeah, I mean it’s supposed to be but it doesn’t have to be.

Yeah. But that’s why. That’s why like the way I always learned it right, like, you know, the point of attack, right the inciting incident being when the conflicts introduced. So at that moment when they show up, just bear with me if that’s the moment they show up. And Bruce Willis has a gun and he runs. Is that the introduction of the conflict, when they took over the building and then is the end of act one the conflict locked when? When what? When’s the conflict. Like, you know, because he could just call the cops, right? Like the police don’t listen to him. So now is that when the conflict

So does he. Is he the initiator of the conflict in a way.


Well. Hold, hold on. I got you. All right. No, no, no, no, no, no. I like this. So they enter the building inciting incident. That’s part of the story.

Mm hmm.

The moment Hans Gruber shoots and kills Takagi.

Takagi yeah.

I’m telling you, you’re just going to have to kill me.


The second he does that.

That’s the conflict is locked.

I think that yeah, because Bruce Willis witnesses it. It changes everything. Now his wife is in mortal threat. Now they all are. And I think at that. Oh and then they’ve heard him. So now they like they hear and so then now they go after him. They’re going after him also.


I could see. And that’s the thing I could see.

And that’s when he decides to take action. And then he calls the police.


Which then brings the police and probably.

Well that’s when the police don’t listen to him. Whatever’s going on. So, yeah, that’s why to me, I could see that being the end of act one. You know, that’s when he shoots the first terrorist and he kills him. You know, the end of. Because the conflict is locked now. He’s got no choice. He’s trapped in this building and he’s got to save his wife.

Oh, okay. Yes.

That’s how I look at the end of act one like that adventure begins or whatever right.

So starting with him throwing the.

Like just killing the Karl’s brother.

Karl’s brother.

Yeah. That that. And it’s interesting because when we talk about.

Oh that’s good.

No but when we talk about how well-structured everything is. But it wasn’t like Star Wars, like boom inciting incident and end of act one. You know, like I really I was.


That’s why I asked you because I was like, I’m not really sure.

I thought you were gonna ask me about the third act that I was like, oh, boy, here we go.

But then, well yeah. When you go to, like, what’s the end of the second act then? Like, when do we go into the third act?

I mean, to me the third act was always just Karl jumping up again like I feel like it has the shortest third act like because I mean.

No but. No, come on. Wait wait wait. Cause the climax is Hans. Right. Like when the shoot out and Hans falling out the window. Right. But the end of Act 2 is that moment when I thought it was gonna be when he’s pulling the glass out of his feet and the FBI agents show up. And he’s having. He’s basically saying goodbye to. He talks to Al and says, hey, tell my wife I love her and everything.

Tell her that that she is the best thing that ever happened to a bum like me. She’s heard me say I love you a thousand times. She never heard me say I’m sorry.

That’s a pretty low point. But then he goes out there and there’s the roof. And, you know, he jumps off the roof. The explosion.

Jumps off the roof, slams.

Hits the wall. Gets dragged down. Like crazy scene.

Shoots him.

Shoots the glass.

Falls into where? Back into the room that happens to be the floor he needs.

Suddenly there’s like a lake inside there.

Goes to the vault, shoots the one guy, has the two bullets, the gun behind his back.

That’s the best. Come on it’s the best scene

Shoots him, shoots Hans.

Yippee ki yay.

Hans fall off.

Shoots the one guy. And then he blows it right. And he goes happy trails Hans.

Happy trails Hans.

So yeah where? I mean, I see where there’s like a down moment when he calls, but like, where is that? Where’s the end of Act 2?

That’s why I think the end of Act 2 is after Hans gets away, right? That’s when he has Hans with him and they shoot the glass.

Shoot the glass.

And he’s pulling glass like he’s a mess like the guy. I don’t know if he got shot he got beat up. He’s got bleeding feet. And he tells Al to tell my wife I love her.

Yeah, definitely. That’s.

And I can’t he can’t say Holly, my wife, who’s here, because Hans still doesn’t know. Right. Remember, Hans thinks that he was a guest of Ellis. Yeah, that’s where I think the end of act 2 is, but it’s it’s not such a low, low point. Like, you know, like.

Yeah. But thinking about it, it is low. And not to say this about the movie, I do remember thinking when I watched it. Like God, he seems awfully down like.


He survived all like, I don’t know. This is the first time like it’s just suddenly in that moment.

But it’s also that’s the moment we find out about Al that Al shot the kid like that’s when he reveals all that information. So that’s depressing from both ends right. Like it’s got to be the low point.

Is there anything on the web that says like this is the act structure for.

Let me pull it up.

I’m curious. Yeah.

We’ll rerecord this with our knowledge.

Exactly. Well, that’s obvious. As an expert in the field Nick.

No seriously. What do you got Kristian?

According to screenplayhowto.com it’s easy to interpret the first plot point as the takeover of Nakatomi plaza.

Yeah, we got that.

But that’s actually in the middle beat of Act 1.

They’re saying that’s the middle beat of Act 1.

Yeah. The true first plot point is the murder of the president.

Is what.

The murder of the president.

But that’s funny. That’s exactly what we just did. I first was like when they come in. I’m like, no, no, no. When they assassinate the guy. What’s the end of act 2.

End of act two is exactly what you were saying. When he’s talking about. In the bathroom talking about. Yeah.

Nice yeah. Then they have their I mean literally has that resolution. I think their resolution is Karl and you know.


Al’s redemption.

Oh. And this is the Bruce Block thing which is that you kind of know the climax. Is that visually it’s the most interesting thing. It built to that. And that’s why Karl’s shooting, despite my joking about it earlier. Isn’t really.


Because it’s a very simple final plot point.

Because that classic shot Hans falling off the roof. Right. Looking up or holding her watch and everything. I mean, that’s insane.


That close up and the slow motion. And then I remember cutting to the wide shot. We see him falling down. And then what’s his name says like hope that’s not a hostage.

Well I hope that’s not a hostage.

Even in such a such a dramatic moment, that guy just has to say anything, cause of breakfast club and we laugh. And you know what? When we think about bad guys, because we were talking about Hans being a great bad guy. But you have Paul Gleason and you have the other guy, William Atherton. He’s the guy who’s the newscaster. We didn’t even talk about him. He’s from Ghostbusters right.

Yeah, he’s always the bad guy.

So he again, like, that’s amazing that they have these character actors like that.

And like, so I’m watching it and I’m just like, God, they’re tying everything up. And as they’re leaving, I’m like, yeah. Oh, that reporter, I guess they don’t tie him up. And then Holly punches him in the face.

She punches. It’s awesome.

Now that it’s all over after this incredible ordeal. What are your feelings?

And like, you know what, we were just talking about how, you know, Hans doesn’t know Holly’s his wife. Right. But he finds out when that news show’s playing the guy’s interviewing the kids. Right. And then we see Holly watching it. And that’s when he knows.

You know your mom and dad are very important people. They’re very brave people. So is there something you’d like to say to them if they’re watching.

Come home.

Mrs. McLane. How nice to make your acquaintance.

After threatening the house sitter with immigration services.

You let me in right now or I call the INS. Comprende.

Oh, my God. That’s right. Of course, you’re gonna hate the. And he’s in the second one. Also, it’s classic. He happens to be on the plane with her in the second one.

That’s right. And he reports.

She tazes him right. It’s the same thing.

I Richard Thornburgh just happened to be here to put his life and talent on the line for humanity and country. And if this should be my final broadcast.

Amen to that, Dick.

So this one scene that I show from diehard to my students is always during my point of view lecture. And it’s the scene when he runs into Hans close to the roof and Hans pretends he’s a hostage.

Please god no. You’re one of them aren’t you. You’re one of them.

And we talk about point of view that when the whole film we’re identifying with Bruce Willis. But of course, we see Hans’s side of things as well. But when we have the two of them there. You actually are with Hans. Most of the time you’re with Hans and you’re going, oh, my God, don’t give him a gun, John. Don’t do you know, like. And then it switches when he says, you know, what’s your name? And he’s like, Bill. Bill. Clay.

Clay. Bill Clay.

And then it cuts to John McClane looking at this this roster, right.

And seeing Clay.

Seeing the name. So we talking about how directors do that shift the point of view back and forth. But it’s great because he totally has me. And then at the end, there’s no bullets in the gun. You’re like, wait. When did he know? Because it looked like he put the bullets in the gun when he gave it to him.

Oops. No bullets. Think I’m fucking stupid Hans.

Yeah so when did he know I was thinking that I was gonna ask you?

I think he doesn’t know but he just doesn’t trust them. So he doesn’t put bullets in the gun.

Yeah, because if he knows he wouldn’t go through the whole charade, it’ll just be like Hans. Bam. Right. Get my wife, you know. But that’s also. Yeah. That’s a that’s a great scene and beautiful shots and Dutch angles and you know, like. It’s a good scene to show the class because again, it’s not just action. There’s more character development and things like that.

There’s so much of this movie that’s not action. That’s character development. Like I feel so connected to the characters. You really care about Holly. You care they get back together. Yeah.

I even cared about Ellis.

Hey, John boy.

Like he’s making those mistakes you’re like no. Idiot.

And especially dude that scene when Ellis is like John, John. And then John’s like Ellis. Don’t do this, please, don’t do this.

Hans this asshole is not my friend. I just met him tonight. I don’t know him. Jesus Christ Ellis these people are going to kill you. Tell them you don’t know me.

John how can you say that after all these years? John.

You know, he’s like they don’t show him getting killed. Right. We hear it, but we see it through. Bruce Willis’s right. We see it through his face. And then I think we see his body come out. Right I’m like aw I like you Ellis. No it is. It’s true. Like the character development, because even with Holly, they show her being from the beginning. We know she’s a top person there right. They all respect her and the Rolex and the corner office. They show her being a leader with the hostages. Right. Like we have a pregnant lady. We need to do bathroom shifts, like she’s speaking up. And it’s kind of interesting also watching it as a New Yorker. And not knowing any like, you know, it’s different when you watch it when you come out here.


Very different. Like because you see that when he when he arrives at the at the airport and some girl runs by and jumps in the guy’s arms and he’s like, Oh you know, California.



So we grew up not that far from each other. I mean I’m New Jersey and we moved out here at the same time. Did you have this image of California like has that gone away? Like even looking at this movie, because there was that couple was totally California. At another point, he’s walking in and someone’s like, chill, dude.

Hey Merry Christmas.

Jesus. Fucking California.

Like it’s like this constant making fun of California thing.

Yeah, I mean, I think that was the 80’s look at California. Right. Like I think now being out here. I’m used to it. But I do feel like whenever I go back to New York and when I fly back, I’m like, yeah, I’m back in L.A. I can tell as soon as you get in that airport, and you’re like, this is LA. You look around right.

No totally I feel exactly. So I’m here. I don’t see anything.


I go somewhere. I’m in New York. Everyone wearing black. I come back here. I go to a cafe and I’m like, she looks like she’s straight out of the 40s. He looks like Duran Duran.


Like everybody.

Exactly. No, but I do think the New York L.A., you can’t get any more opposite than that right. In this country, it seems like. Well, I mean, I guess you can. I take it back. What am I talking about?

They are pretty. But like you can get farther apart.



But a New York cop coming to L.A. and then what’s great is like I mean that scene with Argyle when he was like, you thought she was going to come running back to you. He’s laughing. And you could see his face. We know that’s true right.

Right. So when you teach this, what do you think is like the thing that the class takes away? Or that you’d want them to take away the most from watching this movie?

Emotional connection to the characters. Cause if I didn’t care about him try to save his wife, it was just the guy running around a building, you know, and if we didn’t care about that, it wouldn’t matter. I think that and the same like you said with Hans like Hans is not just the typical bad guy. We actually kind of liked him. You know, I like his style. I like his delivery, his speeches and everything.

I even like when he when he starts cowering and pretending to be the other person.

Oh he’s great.


Because then you like you almost like respect him like, wow, he’s good with that American accent. But then he’s also likew when when Holly comes and talks to him about, oh, let’s get the bathroom breaks and stuff like that.

We have a pregnant woman out there. Relax. She’s not due for a couple of weeks, but sitting on that rock isn’t doing her back any good. So I would like permission to move her to one of the offices where there is a sofa.

No but I have a sofa brought out to you. Good enough?

Good enough. And unless you like it messy I’d start bringing us in groups to the bathroom.

Yes you’re right. It will be done.

He’s not such a jerk, you know, because Ellis Ellis is such a smart alec, a coke addict. You know, it’s OK for him to get shot, right. But when that moment when you realize that his whole plan was to send all the hostages on the roof and blow up the roof, then you go, oh, what a jerk. This guy this guy’s bad.

When they touch down we’ll blow roof. They’ll spend a month sifting through the rubble. By the time they figure out what went wrong. We’ll be sitting on a beach earning 20 percent.

I do think that for the first time, I think that’s when I was like, oh, wow OK. He really is evil.

Well and we got to give it to Alan Rickman because he did really make that evil like the sheriff of Nottingham. I mean, that character is hilarious. This character is brilliant. I forgot he was in it then the second. I was like, oh, yeah. Alan Rickman. Like, that’s another reason this movie is so good.

Rickman’s great.

And then he goes on to be Snape like. It’s brilliant.

It is funny when I if I mentioned die hard in class and they don’t know it and I say it’s Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman and I say Snape and they get it. They know Snape right. Like come on guys. We were talking before like character like connection, emotional connection to the characters, seeing Bruce Willis in the beginning scared to fly. Right. With the wedding ring, I think. Yeah it’s his left hand wedding ring, you know, with the gun like you start to discover all these things about him. And then the limo, when the guy shows up and he says, hey, I don’t know what to do it’s my first time driving a limo. Oh, first time riding in one. And then he sits in the front seat. You know, so you like him, like you connect right away. And that’s like a New Yorker.

Leaving the teddy bear in the backseat the whole time.


Which I think you’re totally right. And I think that teddy bear then connects you almost with Argyle in a way, because you’re he’s always this guy with a teddy bear.


Like every single character you like, you’re connected to. You even like the villains.

Yeah and Argyle is there the whole time we come back. He’s the one in a way we’re almost like discovering what’s going on through him because I think he’s in the limo looking at the news and discovering this and then he’s trapped.


So we’re concerned about the wife and the hostages, but we’re concerned for Argyle also.

Absolutely, hole time. And in the end, he just goes and knocks the guy out. I love that moment, too, because he’s this great foil for when you know Bruce Willis is up there like Argyle. Please, please tell me you heard the gunshots you’re calling the cops now. You’re calling the cops. Then you cut and Argyle’s like in his own little world.

He’s talking to his girl right.


Yeah. And that’s. It’s structured well to show how crazy isolated he is. He’s in a building in the middle of the city of L.A. and no one knows. You know, like what’s going on with these terrorists. Cell phones exist. Different story. Right.

Right. Right. couldn’t have this movie.

Wait wait wait. Hold on a second Argyle had a cell phone in the limo.

He had a yeah. He had a car phone.

He had a car phone.

But he didn’t know anything was going on.

Oh yeah. So. That’s right. Once, once they knew it was too late, everything ran out.


Everything went public. Yeah. That’s an interesting thing with the media then. Right. When we see that William Atherton’s character because he hears the radio. Right. The police band. Right. That’s how that’s how he finds out. So that’s also another, like, slimy, bad character. Right. The media.


I’m curious about that. Why they made fun of the media as well.

But it’s true. The media did get made fun of.

Yeah. Cause and the media was responsible for.


Holly being found out right. John’s wife.

This guy is almost this evil character.

And they definitely do that in Die Hard 2. Like he creates crazy panic, right. When he’s, you know, just doing what the media should do, report the news.

People have a right to know everything about everybody.

But you’re right. Like when he says let me call INS, that’s a big moment. I mean, that’s also, again, why we hate this guy so much and why we’re vindicated. Right, when she decks him.

Right. Yeah no, watching this movie again, it brought me back to the 80s. It reminded me both of, you know, the good but then those little things that get by. And you’re like, oh, yeah. You wouldn’t think like that anymore.

Yeah. So did you see the the last Die Hard movie?

I did see the last Die Hard movie.

In Russia.

Yeah. It was with his son, right?



And I know I read that there’s a prequel coming out to Die Hard. Which what what upsets me about this and again, look, I don’t know much about it, but John McClane is the every man hero. That was a cop, but was never in a situation like this until now and proved himself. So if they’re gonna do a prequel and show that he was as badass hero and you know, when he was in his 20s. That makes no sense.

That’s exactly what I was thinking. You’re totally right.

That upsets me. And I know it’s just a money ploy. Right? Like. I get it. It’s Hollywood, but still. Cause I know I’m going to want to see it. And I don’t know.

And you’ll see it and you’ll be disappointed by it.

Yeah you know so die hard. Like this movie was based on a book that was like the 70s. And you got to look this up, Kristian. Something about like Frank Sinatra was offered this role way back. But it must have been such a different movie.

What for, diehard?

Yeah it was whatever book it was based on. And it was supposed to be made into a movie with Frank Sinatra. And I was like, what the hell is this?

How would he.

Probably 70s or something. Was it 70s.

Yeah and he was not going to get his feet bloody.

Seventy nine.

Seventy nine.

It’s called Nothing Lasts Forever. By Rodrick Thorp.

Thorp I think I got to read the book just to see how different. There’s no way because I am curious about it. Like we talked about how tight the screenplay is. Who wrote the script first, like Jeb Stuart I think is listed and was it a draft of his, a couple of drafts did they write together? I can’t remember which and it was in credits.

You guys were talking about Bruce Willis being like the everyman. The role was originally offered to source Schwarzeneggar and Stallone before Willis.


That would have been a very different movie.

That’s crazy yeah that’s.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, just a cop from.

Just a regular cop who’s huge.

I am a New York police officer.

I think that was. Wait was that. That must be around the same time, red heat. That’s like a way to explain his accent. He’s a Russian cop with James Belushi.

So much as John McClane and Holly McClain riding off into the sunset. I think this is our swan song.

Why do. What. Why. We should say, like like John and Al.You don’t like the romantic?

I don’t want to ride off the sunset with you.

That’s the whole reason I invited you here Nick. I was. Fair enough. But who’s Bruce? I’m Bruce Willis. Obviously, in this scenario.

OK I can be Al.

Well, listen, thank you for coming in today.

It was my pleasure.

And I hope anybody learned anything about Die Hard. And we didn’t just.

Seriously doubt it.

I do feel like this was just a great opportunity for us to reminisce back to our childhood and but, you know, I feel with a certain amount of maybe insight that might or might not help.

If if we can get some more fans of die hard out there. I’d be happy. You know, I try that with my students and I don’t think it’s working. So maybe this is podcast could help.

Please go watch. Die hard. It’s not difficult to find. Now is the perfect time. It’s about to be a prequel. So you have to see the first one. And yeah, well, thank you for tuning in. This episode of the backlot was not written by anyone. It was a complete improv here with me and Nick Sivakumaran senior instructor here at New York Film Academy produced by Kristian Hayden and me, David Nelson, who’s also the creative director. Mixed and recorded by Kristian Hayden. It has been executive produced by John Sherlock and Dan Mackler, and is a production of the New York Film Academy. If you want to learn more about our programs and perhaps even have Nick Sivakumaran as your directing instructor, check us out at nyfa.edu. You don’t forget to rate review and subscribe to our podcast on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen.

Are we recording we should record.

I’m recording now.