New post on Overthinking It today, considering what Die Hard might have looked like in an alternate universe:
Die Hard was an adaptation of the Roderick Thorp novel Nothing Lasts Forever. This novel was a sequel to Thorp’s 1966 novel The Detective. The Detective, a gritty crime novel, was adapted into a 1968 movie of the same name starring Frank Sinatra. Thorp wrote Nothing Lasts Forever in 1979 with the intention of optioning it as a screenplay which Sinatra would star in. (This sort of thing is done all the time in that weird borderland between novels and movies – see Thomas Harris’s Hannibal, or Michael Crichton’s The Lost World). However, Sinatra wasn’t interested.
The rights to Nothing Lasts Forever already having been acquired, the script was then shopped around as a sequel to Commando. However, Schwarzenegger declined to revisit the role. So the producers pitched the movie to a roster of action stars, including Harrison Ford and Sylvester Stallone. They all passed. Eventually, in 1987, it ended up on Bruce Willis’s plate.
So: three possible movies – Nothing Lasts Forever, Commando 2 and Die Hard. Three possible stars: Frank Sinatra, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. Only one of those movies ended up being made: the Die Hard we recognize, starring Bruce Willis. But what if we jump in our Overthinking It Time Machine – just back from the shop – and consider eight alternative histories?