“58 Minutes to Live” is far from being the most popular film in the “Die Hard” saga. Whose fault is it ? Largely to Bruce Willis if we are to believe the director Renny Harlin who had a major disagreement with the actor.
58 minutes to livethe diehard which is not unanimous
After the success of crystal trap (1988), 20th Century Fox was quick to launch a sequel. With 58 minutes to live (1990)we thus find Inspector John McClanestill embodied by Bruce Willis. If in the first opus the New York cop must single-handedly stop a gang of robbers (Hans Gruber and his men) who are taking over the large building of Nakatomi Plaza, in the second he has to confront terrorists in an airport.
The plot of 58 minutes to live also takes place during the Christmas holidays and fate seems to be on McClane and his wife Holly. Indeed, while waiting for her at the airport, he finds himself in the middle of a dirty business with the arrival of General Ramon Esperanzaex-leader of Val Verde who must be transferred for his trial.
Only, a group of mercenaries intervenes and demands his release. Otherwise, having control of communications between the airport and the planes, they foresee a dramatic end for the passengers. McClane then 58 minutes to intervene before his wife’s plane ran out of fuel and crashed.
58 minutes to live is not the most appreciated of the saga diehard. Already because the change of director is felt strongly. John McTiernan created a real legend with crystal trap and he had to re-enlist for the future. But occupied by Hunting for Red October (1990), he gave way to Renny Harlin (which will then give us cliff hanger, Pirate Island or Goodbye forever).
Renny Harlin well helped by Joel Silver
For many, Renny Harlin is solely responsible for the mediocre result of the film (a success all the same at the box office). But the director recently spoke about this experience to say the least complicated for him.
In an interview given to Empirehe don’t deny his movie, quite the contrary. However, he still feels that he was not very experienced at the time (his fifth achievement). He also highlights his producer, Joel Silverwhich greatly helped him to coping with studio pressures :
Studio executives had started coming to the set. They come with their coffee cups and stand behind you. They want you to save money or somehow fix a problem. It’s terrible for a director.
Joel pulled me aside one night and said, “Renny, I see you’re stressed. Let me manage the studio, the budget, the situation. I want to see the movie you dreamed of. And he said, “Just think, if the movie is a success, no one will care that we went over budget. But if the movie comes out and it’s not a worthy sequel to the first one, then the fact that you were able to save money, no one will give a shit. Do it how you want to do it. It comforted me so much.
The Bruce Willis Problem
58 minutes to live should therefore have been exactly what Renny Harlin wanted. But a problem arose with the star of the film: Bruce Willis. He continues in the interview by explaining that the actor had passed, thanks to crystal trap, from a TV star, to a movie star. And that in just one movie.
From then on, the actor no longer had the same objectives, especially for his character of John McClane. Wanting to put aside the comic aspect of diehardBruce Willis insisted so that the famous cop is much more serious in 58 minutes to live than in the first opus. Which logically led to a disagreement with the director.
I said to him, “That’s not the John McClane the public likes. They feel like you’re their friend now. And they don’t want to lose their friend.” We had a major disagreement about this. He said, “These jokes and comedic lines are bullshit. With lives at stake, you can’t say that stuff.” I said, “Yeah, not in real life, but it’s a movie. It’s Die Hard.” I got to a point where I had to go up to Joel and say, ‘We have a real problem.
There followed a long meeting between the actor, the director and the producer to try to find a compromise. Eventually, it was decided that Bruce Willis would do as many takes as desired playing the character in any way he wanted. And a take…