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Clint Eastwood turned down Die Hard role because he didn’t get the humour

Clint Eastwood was offered a role in the iconic action movie Die Hard, but he turned it down because he didn't vibe with the humour in the script.

Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Die Hard is, for many film fans, the quintessential action movie. The epic ‘80s movie has gifted us with so many memorable images and quotes, and let’s not get started on the debate as to whether it’s secretly a Christmas movie, or not. One thing’s for certain, it’s difficult to imagine Die Hard without Bruce Willis as the iconic protagonist, John McClane. But picture this, Clint Eastwood could have joined the Die Hard cast, if he had just understood the comedy elements of the script.


In an interview with Slash Film, the writer of Die Hard, Jeb Stuart explains how the lead role was offered to the legendary actor, who turned it down simply because he didn’t vibe with the humour.

Apparently, Eastwood was the first name on the list of actors that the producers approached for the role, but the comedic mistranslations ultimately left the actor unimpressed. Ironically, Bruce Willis was not a top choice at all, and was in fact one of the last options on the Die Hard wish list.

“They went to Clint Eastwood first,” Stuart explains. “Ironically, his response to the producers was, ‘I don’t get the humour.’ Which, for me, was a shock because if you listen to a lot of those words, Eastwood’s one of the few people who could have delivered a line like ‘Come to LA, have a great time.’ All that kind of stuff,” he adds.

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This is not a huge revelation, in terms of other actors being lined up for the role, of course. It’s common knowledge that huge movie stars like Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro, among others, were also considered for the role of John McClane.

However, it’s Eastwood that everyone seemed to have their hearts set on. Stuart reveals, “You could see him doing that. He was my inspiration.” Ultimately, however, Bruce Willis did a pretty good job and certainly made the role his own, leaving a great legacy on the action movie genre.