A Good Day to Die Hard - Bruce Willis
A Good Day to Die Hard - Iconoclastic cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) ©2013 Twentieth Century Fox, photo by Frank Masi

Bruce Willis, reprising his role as police detective John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard, once again finds himself in the wrong place at the right time.

In the continuing franchise, McClane arrives in Moscow to track down his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), and is stunned to discover he is working undercover to protect a government whistleblower named Komarov. Both John and Jack must put aside their differences in order to get Komarvo out of the country, and avert a disaster from occurring in Chernobyl.

Bruce Willis spoke of playing John McClane for the fifth time at the press junket for the movie, which opens on Valentine’s Day.

What made you feel it was time for another Die Hard?

A Good Day to Die Hard - Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney and Sebastian Koch
John McClane (Bruce Willis), Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) and a Russian under their protection, Komarov (Sebastian Koch), take a fateful elevator ride © 2013 Twentieth Century Fox

We only do another Die Hard when they have another really complicated title that no one quite understands.

We’d just gotten to where we thought we might understand Live Free or Die Hard, and now we have A Good Day to Die Hard which, to be honest with you, I’m still a little baffled still by. (he laughs)

You have to come up with a story, that’s the thing that triggers another film. This film was much more germane to the Die Hard franchise, in that it has to do with family and family conflict, and that’s always been a high ticket number with Die Hard.

Why did you want to play John McClane again?

A Good Day to Die Hard - Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney
John McClane (Bruce Willis) and son Jack (Jai Courtney) survey the wreckage left after their encounter with a band of assassins ©2013 Twentieth Century Fox

I find it an interesting exercise to reach for the bar we set with the series, and I enjoy checking in with McClane at different stages in his life. In this story, he’s at a point where men tend to reflect on their past.

For McClane, it’s the estranged relationship with his son.

They haven’t spoken in some time, and the first news he’s received of him is about his arrest in Moscow.

This is the first time John McClane is out of the country in these movies. Can you talk about him being a fish out of water in this?

A Good Day to Die Hard - Bruce Willis
John McClane (Bruce Willis) keeps on truckin’ © 2013 Twentieth Century Fox

I think we were all excited about the idea of getting out of the United States and having a film be more international, so we gave Jack a job that was pretty obscure and undercover, and it just made a lot of sense.

Moscow was really built for a couple of fish out of water like us. I can’t imagine a bigger ocean of non-communication than Eastern Europe and Russia. I don’t speak any other languages really, and we got a couple of jokes out of that.

It just opens it up and I like seeing (McClane) not be able to figure things out and what someone is saying to me. I can hardly understand English.

You look really fit, but how hard were the stunts for you in this, compared to Die Hard 25 years ago?

A Good Day to Die Hard - Bruce Willis and director John Moore
Bruce Willis and director John Moore enjoy some time between camera set-ups on the set © 2013 Twentieth Century Fox

It’s a very simple difference, I get up a little slower from the ground after I’ve fallen. But we have highly technical stunt personal who keep us safe. I’m doing alright, I’m here today!

Over 25 years and 5 films you’ve had this chance to play this great arc, can you talk about playing a character over that stretch of time?

That stretch of time is a pretty large one. It’s hard to compress it into a few sentences. I remember every film, I remember everything that we did and where we were. 25 years is a life in itself.

I have really great memories of it and it’s all been good. And as crazy as they continue to try and make these films, not many people get hurt. It’s always good. I have a warm place in my heart for Die Hard.

Bruce was asked why he feels the franchise has been so successful. Click here to listen to his reply.

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Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.