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Director John Moore talks working with Bruce Willis on A Good Day To Die Hard; also, is there a longer cut on the horizon?

Feb. 27, 2013by: Paul Shirey

I know that some of you dug it, but for me, A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD was not up to par.  I'm not going to jump into a rant about it, as we've already heard plenty already, but the disdain for the film by many (most?) is something that factors into this story.  It seems that director John Moore, who generated next to no excitement upon being announced as the helmer of the fifth iteration of the franchise, had chopped a director's cut of the film, which is "substantially longer than the 97 minute-long theatrical version, with the Moscow-levelling car chase around "30%" longer," according to an interview conducted by Empire a while back.

One of the common complaints about A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD was the 97-minute running time, which is the shortest of all the DIE HARD films, leaving many of us wondering if the shortened timespan is a reason for its less than stellar end product.  Well, that and the awful script by Skip Woods.  And the superhero stunts.  And the...okay, I'll stop.  The rating was also different in the UK (12A), which ended up giving the Brits an even more scaled down version, since they apparently aren't allowed to see blood. 

Could this mean a much longer unrated cut on blu-ray?  That's certainly a possibility and while the movie is underperforming domestically, it's already garnered $183 million worldwide, which ain't exactly pennies in the bucket. I doubt that an extended cut, especially of an already ridiculous car chase will change my mind, but you never know.  At the very least, I'd give it another day in court.

Moore also addressed working with Willis, which has famously become a bit of an ordeal if you listen to the likes of Kevin Smith, who directed him in COP OUT.

Here's how I approached it. I've done music work in the past and whether it's Bono or Mick Jagger, you're not going to tell them how to sing one of their songs, but you can construct the concert around them, you can move the lights, you can move the cameras, you can construct the imagery, but you're not going to say, "Mick, I think you should put your foot up on the monitor here during Brown Sugar." For a start, you'd be told to go fuck yourself, but you also might be tampering with something that you yourself greatly admire, and I don't know if I want that. I want someone to have clean hands handling that lab sample, and Bruce has clean hands.

If he thinks of something, it's going to be McClane-esque with a 25-year study of it. If I think of something McClane-esque, it'll be with the consciousness of a fan. Am I going to be the wildlife photographer saying, here comes the snow leopard, let's film him, or shall we fake it in the studio? The approach was to take one constant, Bruce as McClane and he knows what to do, and put the rest around that. I'm confident that that was the smart thing to do. It also made sure he brought his A game, and the contract was I'll film it, you do your thing and I'll give you as much direction as you want, but know that I won't let you down.

Personally, it sounds like Moore just did whatever Bruce told him to do and didn't even attempt to guide him.  Bruce may have played the character in four films prior, but there was a lot of time and distance between them.  And, Bruce Willis didn't create the character of John McClane.  Roderick Thorp and Steven E. de Souza did.  It riles me up a bit, but at this point, I'm over it.  I'll leave it to you guys to dissect. For more from Moore, check out the full interview at Empire.

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is currently in theaters.

Extra Tidbit: So, yeah. Who wants John Moore back for Die Hard 6?

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9:46PM on 03/01/2013
Ok SO I have been reading the comments below & the comparisons to other franchises like Mission Impossible is not even close. The main difference is while Tom Cruise did not create any of the characters, he is the producer so he gets much more input, I mean look at the writers & directors he chooses. Plus he puts so much effort into the films, from his own stunts to not even taking sole credit.

It just seems that with the Die Hard franchise, its completely Fox's property & it's pretty
Ok SO I have been reading the comments below & the comparisons to other franchises like Mission Impossible is not even close. The main difference is while Tom Cruise did not create any of the characters, he is the producer so he gets much more input, I mean look at the writers & directors he chooses. Plus he puts so much effort into the films, from his own stunts to not even taking sole credit.

It just seems that with the Die Hard franchise, its completely Fox's property & it's pretty much a our way or the highway & it's just Willis collecting a check. SO in a way yes it is very much Willis' fault to where this franchise has gone. IAs much as I love the series, I feel it's time to finally let it die. Plus knowing hollywood & the reputation Fox has, it will be rebooted within % years.
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11:36AM on 02/28/2013
You know, you can gripe all you want about what Moore says here about directing Willis... but let's not pretend Willis's performance or even Moore's direction was really the problem. The script was just garbage from the outset. It made no sense. No director could have turned that into a decent film. Moore made a good looking actioner. Willis played the part like he always does. The script was just horrible.
You know, you can gripe all you want about what Moore says here about directing Willis... but let's not pretend Willis's performance or even Moore's direction was really the problem. The script was just garbage from the outset. It made no sense. No director could have turned that into a decent film. Moore made a good looking actioner. Willis played the part like he always does. The script was just horrible.
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11:44AM on 02/28/2013
The directing (also the editing) was horrible though.

Willis was fine altogether.
The directing (also the editing) was horrible though.

Willis was fine altogether.
+11
11:12AM on 02/28/2013
I swear, how do shitty directors and writers keep getting gigs in Hollywood...
I swear, how do shitty directors and writers keep getting gigs in Hollywood...
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9:32PM on 03/01/2013
because those are the kind of people that the studios can control much easier.
because those are the kind of people that the studios can control much easier.
8:08AM on 02/28/2013
I'm definitely starting to see a pattern here when it comes to directors and Bruce Willis and it all started with Kevin Smith. If you haven't got a set of nuts, Bruce will run right over you. Rian and Wes obviously know how to handle themselves.
I'm definitely starting to see a pattern here when it comes to directors and Bruce Willis and it all started with Kevin Smith. If you haven't got a set of nuts, Bruce will run right over you. Rian and Wes obviously know how to handle themselves.
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7:48AM on 02/28/2013

I've had more than enough of directors just letting Bruce Willis "do his thing".

Moore's defending himself, and I can't say I wouldn't do the same in his shoes. "The contract was I'll film it, you do your thing and I'll give you as much direction as you want, but know that I won't let you down." He speaks as if this was some unwritten contract, but I'd imagine that Willis and Fox picked a director that would do precisely that, and that it was part of the negotiation process. Which is why we aren't seeing any auteurs or A-list directors near this franchise. I'm sure it's
Moore's defending himself, and I can't say I wouldn't do the same in his shoes. "The contract was I'll film it, you do your thing and I'll give you as much direction as you want, but know that I won't let you down." He speaks as if this was some unwritten contract, but I'd imagine that Willis and Fox picked a director that would do precisely that, and that it was part of the negotiation process. Which is why we aren't seeing any auteurs or A-list directors near this franchise. I'm sure it's been said, but having someone offer a different perspective and breathe some new life into the character (not just on a script level, but on the instance of a director) is exactly what was needed to keep this franchise on course. The problem, it would seem, is Bruce Willis.
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7:38AM on 02/28/2013
Willis was in two of my favorite movies from last year and I didn't hear about him having any trouble with either Rian Johnson or Wes Anderson, maybe he just doesn't get along with shitty directors.
Willis was in two of my favorite movies from last year and I didn't hear about him having any trouble with either Rian Johnson or Wes Anderson, maybe he just doesn't get along with shitty directors.
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10:47PM on 02/27/2013

Ok...

At least we get a longer car chase that car chase was insane. Everything else was laughable but I wasn't expecting a solid acted movie I guess everyone else was.
At least we get a longer car chase that car chase was insane. Everything else was laughable but I wasn't expecting a solid acted movie I guess everyone else was.
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+6
10:34PM on 02/27/2013

Let it be known

Bruce, your movies are headed straight to DVD, you cocky prick. Ask Nick Cage... Oh... and Moore, grow a pair...
Bruce, your movies are headed straight to DVD, you cocky prick. Ask Nick Cage... Oh... and Moore, grow a pair...
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+10
9:26PM on 02/27/2013

Nope

Not I.

McTiernan can't be matched.
Not I.

McTiernan can't be matched.
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+9
9:12PM on 02/27/2013
At first when I heard Bruce Willis was like this (from Kevin Smith's CopOut talk), I didn't think much of it, other than Brice Willis is a bad mother fu*ker. But now after hearing this from another director, it kind of pisses me off. Obviously Good Day Die Hard was terrible. It was, deal with it. If this is because Willis cannot be controlled because everyone is afraid to give him (useful) direction, then fuck him. WHy would anyone want to work with him then? Good Day Die Hard was NOTHING
At first when I heard Bruce Willis was like this (from Kevin Smith's CopOut talk), I didn't think much of it, other than Brice Willis is a bad mother fu*ker. But now after hearing this from another director, it kind of pisses me off. Obviously Good Day Die Hard was terrible. It was, deal with it. If this is because Willis cannot be controlled because everyone is afraid to give him (useful) direction, then fuck him. WHy would anyone want to work with him then? Good Day Die Hard was NOTHING CLOSE to a Die Hard movie. Unless Bruce gets his shit together, I don't want to see another, unless it's back to McClane, not Willis.
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9:10PM on 02/27/2013
I didn't hate the new Die Hard, but it was certainly the weakest of the bunch. A Director's cut won't change that, but I'd be interested in seeing what was left out. Also, I strongly disagree with Moore's views of working with a big actor in a franchise. When you watch Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible film, or Craig in a Bond film like Skyfall, you can tell there is a lot of collaboration between the director and the actor to create an interesting story and further develop the character. That
I didn't hate the new Die Hard, but it was certainly the weakest of the bunch. A Director's cut won't change that, but I'd be interested in seeing what was left out. Also, I strongly disagree with Moore's views of working with a big actor in a franchise. When you watch Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible film, or Craig in a Bond film like Skyfall, you can tell there is a lot of collaboration between the director and the actor to create an interesting story and further develop the character. That was lacking in this new die hard. But John Moore is no Sam Mendes to begin with, so I'm not sure what results the studio was expecting with that choice.
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9:07PM on 02/27/2013
The R-rating was pretty much the only glimmer of hope, for me, in this movie. And then they gave it a 12A in the UK. It was devastating. I'm sure the US version sucked too, but trust me, it could've been so much worse. The version we got felt like a sub-par movie - with all the few good bits that it had edited out. I mean for fucks sake they let him drop the F-bomb TWICE yet they still felt it necessary to cut short the "Yippee Kay-yay motherfucker" line. But yeah, I read the original
The R-rating was pretty much the only glimmer of hope, for me, in this movie. And then they gave it a 12A in the UK. It was devastating. I'm sure the US version sucked too, but trust me, it could've been so much worse. The version we got felt like a sub-par movie - with all the few good bits that it had edited out. I mean for fucks sake they let him drop the F-bomb TWICE yet they still felt it necessary to cut short the "Yippee Kay-yay motherfucker" line. But yeah, I read the original interview as soon as i got back from seeing it, you should definitely read the whole thing. Turns out they didn't even decide who the villain was until about 2 weeks into shooting.
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+19
9:04PM on 02/27/2013
Wow! Now that is some complete pussy directing.
Wow! Now that is some complete pussy directing.
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8:50PM on 02/27/2013
Figured there would be a directors cut considering the short time length of the film.
Figured there would be a directors cut considering the short time length of the film.
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8:23PM on 02/27/2013
"you're not going to tell them how to sing one of their songs, but you can construct the concert around them, you can move the lights, you can move the cameras" Thats a pretty horrendous philosophy to have as a director. It's your film, act like it. Imagine if John McTiernen had that thought process.
"you're not going to tell them how to sing one of their songs, but you can construct the concert around them, you can move the lights, you can move the cameras" Thats a pretty horrendous philosophy to have as a director. It's your film, act like it. Imagine if John McTiernen had that thought process.
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8:22PM on 02/27/2013
is Moore trying to subtly say KS was trying to tell Willis how to act?
is Moore trying to subtly say KS was trying to tell Willis how to act?
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8:19PM on 02/27/2013
They should go with the Longer Cut.
They should go with the Longer Cut.
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