In the pantheon of great villains, Alan Rickman‘s delicious Hans Gruber from "Die Hard" ranks right up there. The baddie from the first, and best, movie in the franchise is a big ingredient for why it works so well — every hero needs a formidable foe, and the more colorful, the better — but Rickman recently revealed that he nearly didn’t take the part.
“I didn’t know anything about LA. I didn’t know anything about the film business … I’d never made a film before, but I was extremely cheap,” the theatre-trained Rickman said at BAFTA (via The Guardian) about his earliest foray in Hollywood. And he certainly wasn’t taken with script at first, recalling that he thought, “What the hell is this? I’m not doing an action movie.”
But once he took another look, he realized that "Die Hard" was much more than just a brawny vehicle for Bruce Willis. “Every single black character in that film is positive and highly intelligent,” he reflected. “So, 28 years ago, that’s quite revolutionary, and quietly so.” It’s certainly an interesting observation, and we can thank Rickman for another change from Hollywood’s standard formula — it was his idea for Hans Gruber to be a suit-wearing terrorist.
So, celebrate sixteen years of "Die Hard" with another watch soon. And appreciate it a little bit more, especially considering that had things gone differently, Rickman might’ve bowed out from playing the iconic bad guy.