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14 Sunny Facts About The O.C.

Josh Schwartz—who had never run a TV show before—was only 26 years old when he brought the idea of a nighttime teen soap to Fox, making him the youngest showrunner in the history of network television. Fox picked up the pilot and ordered an unprecedented 27 episodes for the first season (the final season had only 16).

The O.C. premiered on August 5, 2003, early enough in the season that a lot of competing shows were still in reruns. It followed the lives of a group of affluent teens (and their parents) living in Newport Beach, California. But unlike predecessors like Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210, The O.C. focused more on character than plot, and featured characters who were outsiders, such as Ryan Atwood, played by Ben McKenzie. The show was also self-aware in its humor.

The O.C. ran for four seasons until Fox canceled it after a low-rated third season, which ended in 2006 with the producers killing off one of its main characters. On February 22, 2007—just over 10 years ago—the series took its final bow.

Years later, The O.C. is remembered for leading to a slate of California-based reality shows (like Laguna Beach and The Real Housewives of Orange County) and other meta nighttime soaps (like Desperate Housewives), the creation of Chrismmukah, and for the show’s killer soundtrack, which helped launch indie rock music into the mainstream. Here are 14 sunny facts about the series.

1. THE PRODUCERS USED A TROJAN HORSE TECHNIQUE TO CONVINCE FOX TO DO THE SHOW.

Josh Schwartz told The New York Times that he was a fan of canceled-too-soon shows like Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared, and My So-Called Life. “You can’t tell a network that’s what you want to make because they’ll just say, ‘Those shows lasted 15 episodes and they’re off the air and we don’t want them.’ But if instead you go to Fox and say, ‘This is your new 90210—that’s something they can get excited about.”

Schwartz and fellow executive producer Stephanie Savage pitched Fox the concept of a juvenile delinquent from Chino (Ryan Atwood) infiltrating the glamour of Orange County’s gated communities. “And really what we hoped we had were these characters that were a little bit funnier and more soulful and different and specific than the kinds you usually see in that genre,” Schwartz explained. “They would be the soldiers inside our Trojan horse.”

2. INITIALLY, FOX WAS CONCERNED ABOUT SETH COHEN’S PERSONALITY.

Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) wasn’t as hunky as Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), which concerned the network because “this was a character that might hue too closely to the Freaks and Geeks/Undeclared world of shorter-lived teen soaps, or teen shows,” Schwartz told TIME. “Then Fox had their eye on it, and I was always told, ‘If Ryan is the Luke Perry, then who is the Jason Priestley?’ I was like, 'Welp, we’re not doing 90210.'" But Seth’s sardonic nerdiness ended up becoming a cultural touchstone for the show. “So that went away when we cast Adam Brody, who came in and was really funny and charming, but the network also felt like would be someone who girls would find appealing,” Schwartz said. “But that was a big risk at the time.”

3. THE SHOW’S TITLE CAME FROM SCHWARTZ’S COLLEGE DAYS.

Schwartz grew up in Rhode Island but attended college at the University of Southern California. “When I was in college, all these kids from Orange County, they’d be like, ‘I’m from the O.C.,’ as if they are from the L.B.C. [Long Beach County] and it was the ‘hood. And I always found that very funny even if it was unintentional on their part,” he told HitFix.

As Luke Ward (Chris Carmack) beat up Ryan, Karate Kid-style, at a bonfire on the beach during the pilot, he uttered the now-famous catchphrase, “Welcome to The O.C., bitch.” Schwartz had no idea the line would endure. “I started hearing stories from friends who were working as day traders on the floor in New York and when they would close a sale they’d be like, ‘Welcome to the O.C., bitch!’ And throw the money at each other.”

4. THE PRODUCERS WORRIED “CALIFORNIA” WAS TOO POPULAR TO USE AS A THEME SONG.

Schwartz told HitFix he thought everybody already knew the Phantom Planet song “California,” which became the show’s theme song. “It had already been on the radio. And so we thought, 'We can’t use that song, it’s already out there,'” he said. They decided to edit the song into a “sizzle reel,” something they had to show the network before they finished the pilot. “And what we found was nobody really knew the song,” Schwartz said. “Everybody’s like, ‘What’s that song? That song is incredible.’ And we realized that just because me and [producer] Steph [Savage] and some of the writers had known that song, that song didn’t really get played that much outside of L.A. and KROQ or whatever at the time. So we’re like, ‘Okay, people don’t really know that song.’”

5. THE MUSIC BECAME ITS OWN CHARACTER.

“I always viewed it as wanting the music to feel like an extension of the emotional lives of the characters, which I guess sounds kind of pretentious,” Schwartz told TIME. “When I was sitting down to write the pilot, there was this Joseph Arthur song that plays at the end of the pilot, and when I heard that song, it was like, ‘Oh, okay, this is how I want the end of the show to feel.’ That it was less about the place and more about how our characters were feeling.” He said the music they licensed just happened to be the kind of bands and artists the cast and crew were listening to at the time, which was indie rock. “It was cheaper to license, so that was a happy accident.”

Music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas had a process for getting music on the show. “I would send out weekly [compilation CDs] with any music that I felt was in the world, which then we discussed at length,” Patsavas told MTV. “If someone responded to a certain band, I’d send Josh or Stephanie or one of the editors more music. Then, I’d pitch for scenes and moments. How are we telling the story? How do these bands and songs and lyrics support the drama?” Eventually, the show started promoting music from bigger bands like U2 and Coldplay.

6. THE CREATOR OF ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT WANTED THE CAST TO MAKE A CAMEO ON HIS SHOW.

The O.C. premiered a few months before Arrested Development, which is also set in Orange County and also aired on Fox. One of the comedy series' running jokes is that a character will say “The O.C.” and Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) will correct them and say, “Don’t call it that.”

Schwartz told HitFix that Mitch Hurwitz, creator of Arrested Development, "asked if our actors could come on his show to play themselves as the stars of The O.C. I was worried that was one layer of meta too many, so I said no.”

7. THE SEASON 2 FINALE LED TO AN ICONIC SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE PARODY.

Spoiler alert: Season two ends with a rough and tumble fight between Ryan and his brother, Trey (played by Logan Marshall-Green). It looks as if Trey will kill his brother, so Marissa intervenes. She grabs Trey’s gun and shoots and kills Trey to protect Ryan. As the events unfurl, Imogen Heap’s melancholic “Hide and Seek” plays over the scene. Almost two years after the episode aired, SNL’s Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis, and guest host Shia LaBeouf took turns shooting each other in the digital short. The parody currently has more YouTube views than the finale clip.

8. SANDY COHEN WAS THE ANCHOR OF THE SHOW.

Besides highlighting the lives of teens, Schwartz also wanted to use the moral and wise Sandy Cohen (played by Peter Gallagher) to project what a good father looked like. “One of the things very early on that we realized was that the biggest wish fulfillment aspect of the show wasn’t the big houses and it wasn’t the cool cars or clothes," Schwartz told HitFix. "It was this idea of the Cohen family and having Sandy as a father. There were so many kids out there that would love to have been adopted by a family like the Cohens, and would love to have a father figure in their life like Sandy.”

9. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MARISSA AND ALEX MADE EXECUTIVES UNCOMFORTABLE.

During the second season, Marissa dates bisexual Alex (Olivia Wilde), who runs the local music venue The Bait Shop. The “Nipplegate” Janet Jackson Super Bowl had recently occurred, which led to network conservatism. “We had a whole episode where every kiss between them was cut out, just so I could get one kiss in 'The Rainy Day Women' episode,” Schwartz told ESPN. “I was literally on the phone with Broadcast Standards and Practices bartering for kisses. It was a battle, and the powers that be are part of a big corporation, and were going in front of congress at the time. Every network was. So, I understand they are all good people who were under a lot of pressure. But they wanted that story wrapped up as fast as humanly possible and Alex moving on out of The O.C.” The network got their wish—Wilde left the show mid-season. “But Olivia is a superstar,” Schwartz said. “She was great in the part. I would have her back on the show in a heartbeat.”

10. THE O.C. MADE DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE FAMOUS.

The Seattle-based indie band gained notoriety when Seth Cohen kept talking about how much he loved the band. A few of the band’s songs popped up on the show, too. In April 2005, the band appeared as themselves and performed at The Bait Shop. “If anything, it was really a point of self-awareness for us,” the band’s bassist, Nick Harmer, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “We were like, ‘You mean, there’s some credibility that the character gets for saying our band name? It’s not a laughing point? They’re not making fun of us?’” A few months later, their major-label debut, Plans, was released and ended up going platinum and being nominated for a Grammy.

11. TATE DONOVAN SAID SOME OF THE YOUNG CAST MEMBERS WERE “DIFFICULT.”

In an interview with Vulture for the show’s 10th anniversary, Tate Donovan—who played Marissa's father, Jimmy, and directed some episodes—said that, "By the time I started to direct, the kids on the show had developed a really bad attitude. They just didn’t want to be doing the show anymore. It was pretty tough; they were very tough to work with. The adults were all fantastic, total pros. But you know how it is with young actors—and I know because I was one of them once. When you achieve a certain amount of success, you want to be doing something else. I mean, one of them turned to me and said, 'This show is ruining my film career,' and he had never done a film before. You just can’t help but sort of think that your life and your career are going to go straight up, up, up. So they were very difficult."

12. TURKEY ADAPTED THE O.C. INTO A SHOW.

In 2013, Turkey created a version of The O.C. for Star TV called Med Cezir (The Tide). Like the American version, it featured attractive teens and their attractive parents ensnared in weekly melodrama. 

13. THE PRODUCERS BANNED THE CHARACTERS FROM SMOKING.

In the pilot, Marissa and Ryan meet-cute in his driveway. Ryan is smoking a cigarette when Marissa saunters over to him and asks for one. “That is the last time any characters, or at least teenage characters, smoke a cigarette on broadcast television,” Schwartz told MTV. “It was such a battle to get that scene to stay in the show. We had to make sure that at the end of the scene, when Sandy comes down the driveway and breaks them up, he says, ‘No smoking in my house!’ And they put out the cigarette. That was it; you could never smoke again.”

14. TATE DONOVAN AGREES: JIMMY COOPER IS A TERRIBLE FATHER.

Donovan played the father of Marissa and Kaitlin Cooper. He divorces their mom, Julie, and becomes both an absentee and negligent father. Entertainment Weekly named Jimmy as one of TV’s worst dads, a sentiment Donovan agreed with. “We were shooting the show, and it starts to air, and my sister, who is the mother of three teenagers, calls me up and goes, ‘You know, you’re the worst dad of all time. You’re such a terrible father I can’t believe it.’ And I go, ‘Really? I am?’” Donovan told Vulture. “And so I go up to Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie [Savage] and say, ‘I’m a really bad dad,’ and they’re like, ‘No, you’re not, you’re a great dad!’ I was not a great dad. I was letting my kid do whatever she wants. I left her drunk on the steps. What kind of parents don’t notice their daughter is drunk and passed out? I kept telling them I was a bad father and they said, ‘No, no.’ Ten years later I’m on this list [of bad TV dads] and I feel vindicated.”

All images courtesy of The O.C./Facebook.

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15 Surprising Facts About Scarface
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Say hello to our little list. Here are a few facts to break out at your next screening of Scarface, Brian De Palma’s gangsters-and-cocaine classic, which arrived in theaters on this day in 1983.

1. IT WASN'T THE FIRST SCARFACE.

Brian De Palma's Scarface is a loose remake of the 1932 movie of the same name, which is also about the rise and fall of an American immigrant gangster. The producer of the 1983 version, Martin Bregman, saw the original on late night TV and thought the idea could be modernized—though it still pays respect to the original film. De Palma's flick is dedicated to the original film’s director, Howard Hawks, and screenwriter, Ben Hecht.

2. IT COULD HAVE BEEN A SIDNEY LUMET FILM.

At one point in the film's production, Sidney Lumet—the socially conscious director of such classics as Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men—was brought on as its director. "Sidney Lumet came up with the idea of what's happening today in Miami, and it inspired Bregman," Pacino told Empire Magazine. "He and Oliver Stone got together and produced a script that had a lot of energy and was very well written. Oliver Stone was writing about stuff that was touching on things that were going on in the world, he was in touch with that energy and that rage and that underbelly."

3. OLIVER STONE WASN'T INTERESTED IN WRITING THE SCRIPT, UNTIL LUMET GOT INVOLVED.


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Producer Bregman offered relative newcomer Oliver Stone a chance to overhaul the screenplay, but Stone—who was still reeling from the box office disappointment of his film, The Hand—wasn't interested. "I didn’t like the original movie that much," Stone told Creative Screenwriting. "It didn’t really hit me at all and I had no desire to make another Italian gangster picture because so many had been done so well, there would be no point to it. The origin of it, according to Marty Bregman, [was that] Al had seen the '30s version on television, he loved it and expressed to Marty as his long time mentor/partner that he’d like to do a role like that. So Marty presented it to me and I had no interest in doing a period piece."

But when Bregman contacted Stone again about the project later, his opinion changed. "Sidney Lumet had stepped into the deal," Stone said. "Sidney had a great idea to take the 1930s American prohibition gangster movie and make it into a modern immigrant gangster movie dealing with the same problems that we had then, that we’re prohibiting drugs instead of alcohol. There’s a prohibition against drugs that’s created the same criminal class as (prohibition of alcohol) created the Mafia. It was a remarkable idea."

4. UNFORTUNATELY, ACCORDING TO STONE, LUMET HATED HIS SCRIPT.

While the chance to work with Lumet was part of what lured Stone to the project, it was his script that ultimately led to the director's departure from the film. According to Stone: "Sidney Lumet hated my script. I don’t know if he’d say that in public himself, I sound like a petulant screenwriter saying that, I’d rather not say that word. Let me say that Sidney did not understand my script, whereas Bregman wanted to continue in that direction with Al."

5. STONE HAD FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE WITH THE SUBJECT MATTER.

In order to create the most accurate picture possible, Stone spent time in Florida and the Caribbean interviewing people on both sides of the law for research. "It got hairy," Stone admitted of the research process. "It gave me all this color. I wanted to do a sun-drenched, tropical Third World gangster, cigar, sexy Miami movie."

Unfortunately, while penning the screenplay, Stone was also dealing with his own cocaine habit, which gave him an insight into what the drug can do to users. Stone actually tried to kick his habit by leaving the country to complete the script so he could be far away from his access to the drug.

"I moved to Paris and got out of the cocaine world too because that was another problem for me," he said. "I was doing coke at the time, and I really regretted it. I got into a habit of it and I was an addictive personality. I did it, not to an extreme or to a place where I was as destructive as some people, but certainly to where I was going stale mentally. I moved out of L.A. with my wife at the time and moved back to France to try and get into another world and see the world differently. And I wrote the script totally f***ing cold sober."

6. BRIAN DE PALMA DIDN'T WANT TO AUDITION MICHELLE PFEIFFER.


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De Palma was hesitant to audition the relatively untested Pfeiffer because at the time she was best known for the box office bomb Grease 2. Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Kelly McGillis, Sharon Stone and Sigourney Weaver were all considered for the role of Elvira, but Bregman pushed for Pfeiffer to audition and she got the part.

7. YES, THERE IS A LOT OF SWEARING.

According to the Family Media Guide, which monitors profanity, sexual content, and violence in movies, Scarface features 207 uses of the “F” word, which works out to about 1.21 F-bombs per minute. In 2014, Martin Scorsese more than doubled that with a record-setting 506 F-bombs thrown in The Wolf of Wall Street.

8. TONY MONTANA WAS NAMED FOR A FOOTBALL STAR.

Stone, who was a San Francisco 49ers fan, named the character of Tony Montana after Joe Montana, his favorite football player.

9. TONY IS ONLY REFERRED TO AS "SCARFACE" ONCE, AND IT'S IN SPANISH.

Hector, the Colombian gangster who threatens Tony with the chainsaw, refers to Tony as “cara cicatriz,” meaning “scar face” in Spanish.

That chainsaw scene, by the way, was based on a real incident. To research the movie, Stone embedded himself with Miami law enforcement and based the infamous chainsaw sequence on a gangland story he heard from the Miami-Dade County police.

10. VERY LITTLE OF THE FILM WAS ACTUALLY SHOT IN MIAMI.

The film was originally going to be shot entirely on location in Miami, but protests by the local Cuban-American community forced the movie to leave Miami two weeks into production. Besides footage from those two weeks, the rest of the movie was shot in Los Angeles, New York, and Santa Barbara.

11. ALL THAT "COCAINE" LED TO PROBLEMS WITH PACINO'S NASAL PASSAGES.

Though there has long been a myth that Pacino snorted real cocaine on camera for Scarface, the "cocaine" used in the movie was supposedly powdered milk (even if De Palma has never officially stated what the crew used as a drug stand-in). But just because it wasn't real doesn't mean that it didn't create problems for Pacino's nasal passages. "For years after, I have had things up in there," Pacino said in 2015. "I don't know what happened to my nose, but it's changed."

12. PACINO'S NOSE WASN'T HIS ONLY BODY PART TO SUFFER DAMAGE.

Still of Al Pacino as Tony Montana in 'Scarface' (1983)
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In the film's very bloody conclusion, Montana famously asks the assailants who've invaded his home to "say hello to my little friend," which happens to be a very large gun. That gun took a beating from all the blanks it had to fire, so much so that Pacino ended up burning his hand on its barrel. "My hand stuck to that sucker," he said. Ultimately, the actor—and his bandaged hands—had to sit out some of the action in the last few weeks of production.

13. STEVEN SPIELBERG DIRECTED A SINGLE SHOT.

De Palma and Spielberg had been friends since the two began making studio movies in the mid-1970s, and they made a habit of visiting each other’s sets. Spielberg was on hand for one of the days of shooting the Colombians’ initial attack on Tony Montana’s house at the end of the movie, so De Palma let Spielberg direct the low-angle shot where the attackers first enter the house.

14. SOME COOL TECHNOLOGY WENT INTO THE GUN MUZZLE FLASHES.

In order to heighten the severity of the gunfire, De Palma and the special effects coordinators created a mechanism to synchronize the gunfire with the open shutter on the movie camera to show the huge muzzle flash coming from the guns in the final shootout.

15. SADDAM HUSSEIN WAS A FAN OF THE FILM.

The trust fund the former Iraqi dictator set up to launder money was called “Montana Management,” a nod to the company Tony uses to launder money in the movie.

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30 Cold, Hard Facts About Die Hard
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What do you get when you mix one part action movie with one part holiday flick and add in a dash of sweaty tank top? Die Hard, John McTiernan’s genre-bending Christmas action masterpiece for the ages, which sees a badass NYPD cop take on a skyscraper full of bad guys in the midst of an office holiday party. Here are 30 things you might not know about the movie.

1. IT’S GOT A LITERARY BACKGROUND.

Think some action-loving Hollywood scribe came up with the concept for Die Hard? Think again. The movie is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 crime novel Nothing Lasts Forever, which is a sequel to his 1966 novel, The Detective. In 2013, Thorp’s long out-of-print book was resurrected to coincide with the film’s 25th anniversary.

2. IT WAS INSPIRED BY THE TOWERING INFERNO.

The idea for Nothing Lasts Forever was inspired John Guillermin’s 1974 disaster flick The Towering Inferno. After seeing the film, Thorp had a dream about a man being chased through a skyscraper by a group of men with guns. He eventually turned that snippet of an idea into a sequel to The Detective.

3. FRANK SINATRA GOT FIRST DIBS ON PLAYING THE ROLE OF JOHN MCCLANE.


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Because he had starred in the big-screen adaptation of The Detective, Frank Sinatra had to be offered the role in its sequel. At the age of 73, he smartly turned it down.

4. BRUCE WILLIS’S BIG-SCREEN DEBUT WAS WITH FRANK SINATRA.

In 1980, Willis made his film debut (albeit uncredited) in the crime thriller The First Deadly Sin. He has no name and if you blink you’ll miss him, but the role simply required that Willis entered a diner as Sinatra’s character left it. Maybe it was kismet?

5. CLINT EASTWOOD PLANNED TO TAKE A STAB AT THE PART.

Originally, it was Clint Eastwood who owned the movie rights to Nothing Lasts Forever, which he had planned to star in in the early 1980s. That obviously never happened.

6. IT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE A SEQUEL TO COMMANDO.

This is one of the most popular internet stories about Die Hard. But according to Stephen de Souza, the screenwriter of both Die Hard and Commando, while there was a sequel to Commando planned, the only similarity with Die Hard is that they both took place in buildings. According to de Souza, Escape Plan is the closest to his original Commando 2 idea and Die Hard was never supposed to be anything but Die Hard.

7. BRUCE WILLIS WASN’T EVEN THE STUDIO’S THIRD CHOICE FOR THE ROLE.

If Die Hard was to be a success, the studio knew they needed a bona fide action star in the part, so they set about offering it to a seemingly never-ending list of A-listers of the time. Rumor has it that Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro, Charles Bronson, Nick Nolte, Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Don Johnson, Burt Reynolds, and Richard Dean Anderson (yes, MacGyver!) were all considered for the role of John McClane. And all declined it.

8. BRUCE WILLIS WAS CONSIDERED A COMEDIC ACTOR AT THE TIME.

Die Hard’s producers had nothing against Bruce Willis, of course. He just wasn’t an immediate choice for the role because, up until that point, he was known solely as a comedic actor, not an action star. Following the success of the film, the action genre really became Willis’s bread and butter, and although he has two Emmys for his comedy work, it has remained as such to this day.

9. BRUCE WILLIS WAS BARELY EVEN SEEN ON THE MOVIE’S POSTERS.

Bruce Willis stars as John McClane in 'Die Hard.'
Twentieth Century Fox

Because the studio’s marketing gurus were unconvinced that audiences would pay to see an action movie starring the funny guy from Moonlighting, the original batch of posters for the film centered on Nakatomi Plaza instead of Willis’s mug. As the film gained steam, the marketing materials were altered, and Willis was more prominent in the promos.

10. WILLIS WAS PAID $5 MILLION TO MAKE THE MOVIE.

Even with all the uncertainly surrounding whether he could pull the film off, Willis was paid $5 million to make Die Hard, which was considered a rather hefty sum at the time—a figure reserved for only the top tier of Hollywood talents.

11. WILLIS SUGGESTED THAT BONNIE BEDELIA PLAY HIS WIFE.

Though we suspect that she wasn’t paid $5 million for the gig.

12. BRUCE WILLIS WAS ABLE TO SAY YES THANKS TO A WELL-TIMED PREGNANCY.

The first few times Bruce Willis was asked to star in the movie, he had to say no because of his commitments to Moonlighting. Then costar Cybill Shepard announced that she was pregnant. Because her pregnancy wouldn’t work within the show, producer Glenn Caron gave everyone 11 weeks off, allowing Willis to say yes.

13. SAM NEILL WAS ORIGINALLY APPROACHED FOR THE PART OF HANS GRUBER.

But Neill ended up turning the film down. Then, in the spring of 1987, the casting director saw Alan Rickman playing the dastardly Valmont in a stage production of Dangerous Liaisons and knew they had found their Hans.

14. DIE HARD WAS ALAN RICKMAN’S FEATURE FILM DEBUT.

Though Rickman may have played the part of Hans as cool as the other side of the pillow, it was actually his first role in a feature film.

15. JOHN MCTIERNAN TURNED THE MOVIE DOWN, TOO.

And not just once, but on a few different occasions. His reason was that the material just seemed too dark and cynical for him. “The original screenplay was a grim terrorist movie,” McTiernan told Empire magazine in 2014. “On my second week working on it, I said, 'Guys, there's no part of terrorism that's fun. Robbers are fun bad guys. Let's make this a date movie.’ And they had the courage to do it.”

16. MCTIERNAN SEES IT AS A SHAKESPEAREAN TALE.

In the original script, the action in Die Hard takes place over a three-day span, but McTiernan—inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—insisted that it be condensed into a single evening.

17. NAKATOMI PLAZA IS ACTUALLY FOX PLAZA.


Yes, the corporate headquarters of 20th Century Fox—the very studio making the movie—proved to be the perfect location for the movie’s much-needed Nakatomi Plaza. And as it was still under construction, there wasn’t a whole lot they needed to do to the space to make it movie-ready. The studio charged itself rent to use its own space.

18. THE ROOM WHERE THE HOSTAGES ARE BEING HELD IS LITERALLY SUPPOSED TO BE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S FALLINGWATER.

"In this period, Japanese corporations were buying America," production designer Jackson De Govia said in the Die Hard DVD audio commentary. "We posited that ... Nakatami Corporation bought Fallingwater, disassembled it, and reassembled it in the atrium, like a trophy."

19. THAT PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE CITY BELOW? IT’S NOT REAL.

A 380-foot-long background painting provided the illusion of a breathtaking city view in the movie. And it was a state-of-the-art one, too, with animated lights, moving traffic, and the ability to change from night to day. The painting is still the property of the studio and has been used in other productions since.

20. THE FILM’S SUCCESS SPAWNED A BONA FIDE FRANCHISE.

In addition to its four sequels, Die Hard has spawned video games and comic books, too.

21. JOHN MCCLANE’S TUMBLE DOWN A VENTILATION SHAFT WAS AN ACCIDENT.

Or maybe “error” would be a better word. But in the scene in which McClane jumps into an elevator shaft, his stunt man was supposed to grab onto the first vent. But he missed. By a lot. Which made the footage even more exciting to watch, so editor Frank J. Urioste kept it in the final cut.

22. ALAN RICKMAN’S DEATH SCENE WAS ALSO PRETTY SCARY.

At least it was for Rickman. In order to make it look as if he was falling off a building, Rickman was supposed to drop 20 feet onto an air bag while holding onto a stunt man. But in order to get a genuinely terrified reaction out of him, they dropped him on the count of two—not three, as was planned.

23. BRUCE WILLIS SUFFERED PERMANENT HEARING LOSS.


Twentieth Century Fox

In order to get the hyper-realism that director John McTiernan was looking for, the blanks used in the guns in the movie were modified to be extra loud. In one scene, Willis shoots a terrorist through a table, which put the action star in extremely close proximity to the gun—and caused permanent hearing loss. He referenced the injury in a 2007 interview with The Guardian. When they asked Willis his most unappealing habit, he replied that, “Due to an accident on the first Die Hard, I suffer two-thirds partial hearing loss in my left ear and have a tendency to say, ‘Whaaa?’”

24. ALAN RICKMAN WASN’T FOND OF THE NOISE EITHER.

Whenever he had to shoot a gun in the film, Rickman couldn’t help but flinch. Which forced McTiernan to have to cut away from him so that his reactions were not caught on film.

25. GRUBER’S AMERICAN ACCENT POSED NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS.

The scene in which Rickman, as Gruber, slips into an American accent and pretends to be yet another hostage who got away was insisted on by screenwriter Steven de Souza, who wanted them in a room together to duke it out. But McTiernan was never happy with Rickman’s American accent, saying, “I still hear Alan Rickman’s English accent. I was never quite happy with the way he opened his mouth [in that scene] ... I shot it three times trying to get him to sound more stridently American ... it’s odd for someone who has such enormous verbal skills; he just had terrible trouble getting an American accent.”

26. HANS GRUBER’S GERMAN IS MOSTLY GIBBERISH.

And the bulk of his German cohorts were not German either. Bruce Willis, on the other hand, was actually born in West Germany to an American father and a German mother.

27. BRUCE WILLIS HAS FOUR FEET.

As Willis spends much of the movie in his bare feet running through broken glass, he was given a pair of rubber feet to wear as a safety precaution. Which is great and all, but if you look closely in certain scenes, you can actually see the fake appendages.

28. YOU CAN SEE—BUT NOT TOUCH—JOHN MCCLANE’S SWEATY TANK TOP.


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In 2007, Willis donated the blood-soaked tank top he wore in Die Hard to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.

29. “YIPPEE-KI-YAY” STOLE THE MOVIE.

It was a simple line: “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker!” But it became the film’s defining moment, and the unofficial catchphrase that has been used in all four Die Hard sequels as well.

30. CREDIT FOR THE LINE IS OWED TO WILLIS.

In a 2013 interview with Ryan Seacrest, Bruce Willis admitted that “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker!” was really just a joke. “It was a throwaway,” said Willis. “I was just trying to crack up the crew and I never thought it was going to be allowed to stay in the film."

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