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Next ‘Die Hard’ Sequel to Be Written by ‘The Conjuring’ Duo

The extreme antics of John McClane mark a drastic change from the Warrens’ paranormal investigating.
Die Hard Bruce Willis
By  · Published on March 13th, 2018

The extreme antics of John McClane mark a drastic change from the Warrens’ paranormal investigating.

Bruce Willis has been set to return as John McClane in a sixth instalment of the Die Hard franchise for several years, although nothing concrete had really come out of the woodwork for some time regarding any progress of the sequel. However, the film is apparently going ahead, as new writers have boarded the project, and considering who they are, this could make for a very interesting installment. The Tracking Board reports that the scribes of the Conjuring films, Chad and Carey Hayes, will be rewriting Die Hard 6 — or as director Len Wiseman teased a few years ago, Die Hard: Year One.

Much about Die Hard 6 is still under wraps, although we’ve heard in the past that the film will be an origin story of sorts that sees a young McClane working as a cop in 1970s New York. But the timeline may switch back and forth between the past and the present, which could mean that Willis’s screentime won’t be drastically reduced to make room for whichever young actor fills McClane’s shoes.

Story-wise, how would an action script from the writers of a paranormal series pan out? The concept isn’t so tough to grasp if we look at the Hayes’ early work: they do have some experience writing action films when they were doing made-for-TV stuff. That said, they definitely are most well-known for their horror scripts — they also worked on House of Wax, The Reaping, and Whiteout. None of these films made a good impression on critics and audiences at all, which only serves as a reminder that filmmaking is a team effort.

What specifically makes the Conjuring films better than the average horror fare involves a combination of the scripts, director James Wan’s dynamic filmmaking, and the talent of all the cast members, especially Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. The Hayes’ writing actually includes a good balance of scares and emotional beats that have progressed nicely over the course of two Conjuring films. The second movie, in particular, reinforces the Warrens’ personal dynamic alongside their professional dilemmas in dealing with the supernatural at yet another house. This crucial inclusion of emotional character-driven beats keeps the audience invested and elevates The Conjuring series to new heights.

Transposing the Hayes’ talents as writers to the Die Hard universe shouldn’t be that hard to do if they focus on balancing out the action with the emotional. The rest of the established crew seems set for Die Hard success. Wiseman’s Live Free or Die Hard was actually a sequel that worked very well. Critics did point out the film’s over-the-top premise but still praised the special effects, stunts, and Willis’s performance. The franchise was always about being good old summer popcorn flicks that posit a macho hero narrative, so the fact that Wiseman could craft a film that “makes you care” at least speaks to his penchant for the exciting and explosive.

The next question to ask would be, “Who will play a young McClane?” It’s highly unlikely that a Looper situation will repeat itself, or at least I hope they won’t go there. Prosthetics can be incredibly distracting, so they should just cast whoever looks the most similar to Willis. That said, as the tepid response to the casting of Solo: A Star Wars Story has confirmed, you can’t really recast old heroes.

The combination of Willis, Wiseman, and the Hayes are more of a sure bet for Die Hard fans now that the movie is more or less moving forward.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)