A Good Day to Die Hard director John Moore could never have imagined when he walked into an Irish movie theater at the age of 18 to see Die Hard that 25 years later he would be the man responsible for John McClane’s latest adventure.
Moore talked to Movie Fanatic for an exclusive interview where he spoke about achieving a dream, but also at the same time… his honesty about his fear of being able to replicate the experience. It was remarkably human -- especially for a now big-time Hollywood director! For one, he crafted the most astounding car chase in years... hinted at in this A Good Day to Die Hard trailer.
Movie Fanatic: I thought it was a great idea to take John McClane to Moscow where he is truly a fish out of water. What were the unique challenges of taking an American icon abroad?
John Moore: I’m Irish, what I thought was ripe with humor was that I think of John McClane as a joyously Reaganistic American icon. He’s in the Tom Brokaw hall of fame. The problems with it are the ironies that you’re hoping to play may actually look like ignorant racism. John McClane punches a guy in the middle of traffic and says, “You think I understand a (expletive) word you’re saying?” Is that funny? Yes. That is the icon that is John McClane. It’s rife with fun and danger and you got to know when to put your foot on the gas and when to take it off.
Movie Fanatic: Congratulations on the car chase. I have never seen anything like it in my life. What kind of logistical nightmare was that?
John Moore: It was uphill. You’re seeing about two-thirds of it! Check out the DVD. We went to Moscow and I realized the defining feature of Moscow is its appalling gridlock traffic. I’m looking for an icon of Moscow. It’s hard. No one knows Moscow. There’s no Eiffel Tower… you struggle to think… what’s Moscow? OK, Kremlin, Red Square… and I could have done the car chase through that, but really? It’s not 1986 anymore! Want to add guys with bear skin hats? But, you go there and you see the traffic and you realize: You know what John McClane would do? He’d drive over it. That's where the idea came from. We built it from there. To be honest, we met stiff resistance from the studio. They said, “Why? It’s just another car chase."
Movie Fanatic: It’s not just another car chase!
John Moore: There’s this halfway point where I’m trying to say to them, please, let me keep going. If we stop now, it’ll be “meh.” The money, you saw the stunts, those are all real. Those are million dollar stunts. We built a set and brought in the world’s biggest green screen… all this kind of stuff. It took months and months and months.
Movie Fanatic: Does it give you a shot in the arm with confidence about what you can tackle next?
John Moore: Does the opposite. It makes me think that was it. That was your Super Bowl. You’re done! It’s weird. It scares me stiff. I don’t know if I was young, drunk and dumb… but I wasn’t any of those things. How crazy were we to try it. Will I ever be that crazy again? Honestly, that has been a real struggle for me lately.
Movie Fanatic: They say actors who stop being nervous before going on stage should walk away. So maybe that’s the case here.
John Moore: I take comfort in that. But, imagine my fear of reading a script with a car chase [laughs]. What if I love the script and it’s got a car chase? I should go the opposite way.
Movie Fanatic: You’re part of the Die Hard mythology now and part of something enshrined in 20th Century Fox history with the Die Hard mural unveiling. What does it mean to you?
John Moore: It’s incredibly moving. I was 18 in Dublin when I saw Die Hard. I remember the day. It was raining. I remember physically counting the change in my hand because, there was no money growing up. I remember it was like eat or see this movie. See the movie! To be 25 years later… the mural is great. But, Bruce looked over and winked at me. I was like, “Oh my God.” It was terrifying. What do you do after that? He knew I was a fan because I wrote him a letter a long time ago. When we met he said, “Did you write me a letter?” He knew that I had too much adoration for a director. He knew what he was doing when he winked. It was pretty special.