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Independent producer pitches Die Hard sequel idea in full page ad to Bruce Willis

Die Hard 4.0

Story by Jack Foley

A SELF-confessed Die Hard obsessive and independent film producer has taken out a full page advert in The Hollywood Reporter in order to pitch his own idea for another sequel.

Eric D Wilkinson, who also works as a screenwriter, was moved to act after revelations last month that producers of the Die Hard franchise are planning a prequel that would feature a 60-year-old Bruce Willis alongside a younger actor as battling New York cop John McClane.

Much of the action would take place in 1979, showing how McClane first became involved in fighting crime, and depicting the events leading up to the first Die Hard movie, in which he pitted his wits against Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber.

Willis would only appear in the film as an older version of the character in the present day.

However, many fans feel that the prequel idea is pushing the franchise into unwanted territory, particularly as the whole point of the first Die Hard film – and its central character – was that nothing was known about John McClane… an everyman cop who became famous for thwarting Gruber’s international robbers.

And Wilkinson has gone one better to try to deter the prequel idea by spending thousands of dollars from his savings to take out an advertisement in the trade publication, which takes the form of an open letter to Willis, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and director Len Wiseman.

In it, he plots out details of a storyline that would see McClane becoming framed for a murder relating to a case from his early days as a New York cop, and thereby finding himself transported to a prison populated by dangerous killers and terrorists.

When two of the latter mount a riot in an attempt to escape and embark on a plan for a huge attack on US soil, it’s up to McClane to stop them.

Wilkinson believes the story would return the franchise to its original kind of format and would be devoid of some of the more “ preposterous” stunts that have become the hallmark of recent entries.

“No surfing on trucks. No jumping off the wings of harrier jets. No car chases with super-size sports utility trucks driving ON TOP of traffic – just an] ordinary man [in] extraordinary circumstances,” he states.

Wilkinson doesn’t believe his advert will be developed any further despite telling Gawker that he would relish the opportunity to sit down and thrash the idea out with any of the principals involved in the new movie.

But he remains unapologetic, insisting that he is a Die Hard devotee who is acting in the best interests of the franchise.

The most recent instalment, 2013’s A Good Day to Die Hard was critically derided upon release but the film series remains a key franchise for distributing studio 20th Century Fox, having grossed more than $1.4bn (£900m) worldwide.

Wiseman’s own Die Hard 4.0 remains the highest-grossing film in the saga, having taken $383.5m (£248m) off the back of strong reviews.

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