Thursday, February 14, 2013

Die Hard 5

This post was written way back, on June 4 of last year, but I couldn't post it until the movie came out. So I will be writing about 'today' but it is actually about June 4. I don't think my scenes are 'big' enough to be considered spoilers, but just in case, if you haven't seen the film yet and don't want to know anything about it, don't read on. It's too bad that the reviews are pretty bad for the movie itself, but I'll still go see it, of course.

Edit to add: It looks like this scene didn't make the movie, according to some friends who saw it. Maybe it will be in Deleted Scenes when the DVD comes out.

Today was awesome. Better than I ever expected. I was told to dress up as elegantly as I could, so I wore a nice suit. I like another of my suits better, but I went with the one my wife liked best, because I know that wives are always right!

I had to be at the base camp by 5 am, which meant getting up at 4. I'm not a morning person, but this is exciting stuff, so I was fine. It didn't look like a scene I would get a chance to stand out in, because there were what looked to be two hundred extras there, all decked out in their finest.

We were told about the day's shoot, filming behind the Kempinsi Hotel in downtown Budapest. It was meant to be a high-end shopping street in Moscow. Only two buildings on the street had their signs changed into Cyrillic characters, one a bar and the other a gun shop. Don't ask me why a high-end shopping street in Moscow would have a bar and a gun shop on it. I lived there for four years and I don't think such a thing exists unless things have changed a lot since I left!
The street where it was filmed
In the scene, Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney (McClane's son), and another actor are walking down the street, past the bar, and into the gun shop. A choreographer began placing extras in various places and telling them what to do during the scene. This mainly involved simply walking along the street. Many of the extras were placed in positions where they would almost certainly not even get on film.

I got lucky, since Mike Papac, the guy who has done the weapons for all the Die Hard movies, was there dealing with the gun shop. I had met Mike a number of times and even spent quite a bit of time talking with him, as mentioned in this post. He was gracious enough to introduce me to an assistant director, who in turn introduced me to the director. They decided to put me in a place where I would be pretty much guaranteed to show up in the film, standing right by the door of the bar that the guys walk by on their way to the gun shop. So, I'm in a light-gray suit and am holding a briefcase.

I ended up working right near Bruce Willis for almost three hours. We're told not to speak with the actors, so I didn't, even though he met my eyes a few times and looked down-to-earth enough to have talked, but I'm not one to get myself kicked off a set. When they tore apart the set one time in order to rearrange the cameras for another angle, he hung out about four feet from me--he even sang a bit once. I sure wanted someone to take a picture of me with him, but that wasn't going to happen, of course. Anyway, we did around eight or nine takes in all with the real actors (more takes with their stand-ins) over about four hours, and they even paid us. You can't beat that.

I hope I will be able to pick myself out in the film, even if it is just for a second or so! Tomorrow I'll post about the last scene I worked on in the film, and include a photo taken on the set.


  1. Bummer the movie is getting massacred by the reviewers. If I don't see it in the theater, I'll be sure to look for you when it hits DVD.

  2. Yeah, I was kind of expecting it, though, since the previews I had seen showed Bruce doing the ugly American bit a little too often, and the whole Chernobyl sequence sounds lame. I hope I enjoy it more than the critics did, as I so often do.

  3. This is beyond awesome, Ted! Can't wait to see it.

  4. I'll be looking for you! This is exciting.