It’s amazing what you find online when surfing the web at the weekend; we all know the story that the first Die Hard movie was apparently going to be a sequel to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Commando but thanks to our friend William Hickey we now know that according to Steven E. De Souza that “None of that is true! That’s all bullshit! Die Hard is based on a novel called Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorpe, and it’s the sequel to a previous novel called The Detective which was made into a movie with Frank Sinatra. In that movie you can see he’s divorced from his wife and they’re trying to get back together…which is all very John McClane and Holly. The studio had bought the rights to the novel when they made the Sinatra movie in the late ’60s, and they also bought the right of first refusal to any sequel.
The thing is, how this story got set that Die Hard was gonna be Commando 2, I just don’t know where the rumor came from. It was never going to be anything else.”
So now that we have cleared up I didn’t know until recently that Die Hard: With a Vengeance initially started out as a vehicle for Brandon Lee.
Shortly after the release of Rapid Fire, Brandon Lee was making a name for himself as a new action star; according to Comic Resources “it turns out that the original screenplay was called Simon Says much like what we eventually saw in Die Hard With a Vengeance, except that Simon’s motives would be exactly as they seemed, just seeking revenge.
Screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh noted on the commentary for Die Hard With a Vengeance that the idea for the story came to him when he thought about an incident in his childhood when he had injured one of his friends. What if that friend had never gotten over it and sought revenge years later? That was the basic concept behind the script. The original screenplay would star a New York cop named Alex Bradshaw (played by Lee) with the character that became Zeus Carver being an African-American woman.
Tragically, Lee was killed in 1993 during the filming of The Crow and the script went back into the pile of available projects owned by Fox.”
I actually remember Simon Says being the original name for DHWAV but I had no idea about Brandon Lee; just reminds me of what a shame that we lost him so young.