The following was written by Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin, the writer-directors of Live Free or Die. They used to write for Seinfeld, don't you know? Oh yes.
I really enjoyed this piece that they sent to me, and I hope you will too. And perhaps, sometime soon their film will cross the Ocean and I'll get a chance to enjoy that too. Either that or I'll end up begging for a copy when it goes to DVD. Are you listening, Gregg and Andy?
The next voice you hear will be GreggAndy.
We're big fans of the Die Hard films. Die-hard fans, in fact. When Die Hard came out, we were blown away. When we got jobs in Los Angeles, we'd spend our free time searching for the burnt-out husk of the Nakatomi Building. Turns out Mr. Nakatomi sold it to Rupert Murdoch. And it didn't really burn down. Although when you go there you get to park pretty close to where that tank thing blew up. So that was fairly accurate.
Then Die Hard II: Die Harder came out and we are just in awe! Let's just say we've never looked at Dulles Airport the same way.
How do you top the ultra-scary combo of terrorists and airports? Not possible? Wrong. Die Hard with a Vengeance had all the deadly, hard action of Die Hard and Die Harder but now it had "gone personal." And while going personal may not seem original to today's savvy moviegoer, at the time it was a breakthrough.
But of course the best part of the Die Hard movies was the titles, a steadily intensifying progression of death and dying. Die Hard... Die Harder... Die Hard with a Vengeance...
We salivated when we heard Die Hard IV was coming out. And we knew there could be only one way to title it. Die Hard IV: Die Hardest. Of course, that would preclude more sequels. But we knew the moviemakers would show some integrity and do the right thing. After all, has there ever been a good fifth sequel? Besides horror genre movies? So we confidently marked down Die Hardest on July 29 in our calendars and went back to work on our own movie, a quirky comedy called Live Free or Die. And then the news struck like a John McClane chop to the backbone.
Live Free or Die Hard?! What?! Where did that come from?! Did they know we were big Die Hard fans? Was it some sort of cruel hoax, putting us in the unenviable position of having to choose between our own movie and our favorite franchise? After all, our script had been circulating for years. In fact, we had offered Bruce Willis the lead role. Or, at least, we would have if natural hair weren't such an important part of the plot.
Then it dawned on us. They just needed some help. They'd come up with three great titles. Probably four great scripts. And they just need a little push over that finish line. But they'd maxed out their budget and couldn't afford another writer just for a title. So, knowing what great writers we are, they blackmailed us. "Come up with good title or we'll bury your small gem of a comedy in our billion dollar marketing juggernaut!"
Okay, Twentieth Century Fox. You win. Here are some other titles, free of charge. We may have gone out on a limb on a couple, but give it some thought:
Die Hard IV: John McClane In the tradition of Rocky Balboa and John Rambo, it gets us back to the series' core. It's not about dying, it's about living. And who's better at that than John McClane?
Die Hard IV: A New Hope In the tradition of Star Wars, it turns what could have been a boring sequel to a sequel to a sequel into a breath of fresh air.
Die Hard IV: Untitled In the tradition of Led Zeppelin or the Beatles' White Album, it adds to the mystique. Its silence speaks volumes. Die Hard is such an icon, it doesn't need a title.
Die Hard IV: I Know What You Did Last Die Hard Modern. Self-referential. A movie that's not just a movie but a marketing campaign as well. Die Hard, Bill Blass Edition Like the Lincoln Continental Mark IV, it adds a touch of class to the product line.
Die Hard IV: The Return of Michael Myers We haven't seen the script, but you got to believe he's in there somewhere.
Die Harder, Harder! Kill, Kill!: The Return of Russ Meyers We haven't seen the script, but you got to believe he's in there somewhere.
Die Hard VIII It worked for Henry VIII.
Die ßärdt! Don't know what this means but just think of the overseas market.
Die Hard IV: The Midas Touch Perhaps re-name the bad guy "Mr. Midas"? And give him one hand that's a claw? May require re-shoots.
Son of Die Hard Playing your own son? What an ego boost! Especially when your ex-wife is married to a nineteen-year-old. And lastly...
Die Hard I.V.: Intra-Venous Nothing says "close to death" like an intensive care unit.