Die Hard 2: Die Harder is a classic sequel. Although it got decent reviews upon release, it has had a reputation that has grown even stronger over the decades. Now director Renny Harlin has reflected on Bruce Willis wanting to drop all humor and harden the movie up.
Harlin wanted some one liners and mild comedy, Willis wanted none. He tells Empire Magazine:
“We had a big meeting, Joel and Bruce and I. The outcome was that Bruce agreed to do as many takes as he wanted of the way he wanted to do it, and then we’d do one take the way I wanted to do it, with humour. He did it reluctantly, and not so happily, but he did it.
In the end, every single funny moment that could be caught – even a smile he might have flashed before he realised the cameras were rolling – was cut into the movie. The first question the executives asked, when they saw it, was, ‘Do you have any more moments with humour?’ I said, ‘Unfortunately, I used everything I had.’”
He also says one of the more difficult scenes for Willis was the flirting with the girl at the airport, when he shows off his wedding ring and says: “Just the fax, ma’am. Just the fax”. Renny says it was hard to shoot:
“Bruce hated that. He said, ‘That is so cheesy and stupid. I refuse to say it.’ It took an hour there at the counter with me begging him and Joel getting involved to get him to say it once, out of 15 takes. But it’s in the movie and people love it. It’s not just funny. It shows he cares about his wife. It makes him relatable and really an honourable guy. Because it’s not just about saving the world – it’s about something much more personal.”
Harlin also notes that a highlight or two during production was Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese showing up to visit production.