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Young Aussie Jai Courtney poised to keep ‘Die Hard’ alive


Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) his dad John McClane (Bruce Willis) prepare for battle – old-school

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) and his dad John McClane (Bruce Willis) prepare for battle – old-school style. Photo Credit: Frank Masi, SMPSP TM & © 2013 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

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Updated: March 11, 2013 6:25AM

Jai Courtney was dying to say it.

As John McClane’s son in “A Good Day to Die Hard,” he thought he might have a chance of uttering Bruce Willis’ trademark line. “I did not get to ‘yippie-ki-yay’ anything,” says the Aussie hunk, best known for playing the title character’s friend Varro in the cable series “Spartacus” and appearing in the recent “Jack Reacher.”

“I absolutely thought I should say it. I even thought of improving the words, but clearly it’s Bruce’s line.”

In “A Good Day to Die Hard” (opening Thursday), McClane travels to Russia, where his CIA spy son, Jack, is in hot water. Even though they’re estranged, father and son must join forces to prevent a nuclear-weapons disaster.

As for working with Willis, Courtney says, “He’s very cool, calm, collected and confident. He was also generous with me, and you never know what to expect with these people.”

1 Couldn’t you have suggested a few more action scenes be added?

I know. It’s just talking heads. I like to think of this movie as a little sitting-room drama. It’s Bruce and I in corsets doing our “Downton Abbey” routines.

2 Seriously, this film is non-stop action that required you to fall off buildings, leap into nuclear reactors and dangle off helicopters. What was the toughest thing to do?

Jumping out of windows is always tough. You jump and roll, which does hurt. The truth is I got beat up so many times on this film that it all rolls into one big bruise. The good news is there were no concussions. It’s easy to go really hard when you’re filing action scenes. I remember during a major car chase around Russia, I punched the steering wheel in my van. I did it so hard that I opened up all of my knuckles and now I was bleeding. I’m also someone with an eye for continuity in a film. I had to punch that steering wheel 10 more times. There are still pieces of my shredded skin in that Mercedes.

3 How did you get this coveted role?

I auditioned a few times, but heard nothing, so I went off to do “Jack Reacher.” That finished and my agent called and said, “They still haven’t found a Jack McClane.” I was on my way back to Australia. In fact, I was in line boarding my plane when my manager called and said. “Get off the plane. They want to test you with Bruce Willis.” So, I got out of line, rented a car and drove to the Valley to play a few scenes with Bruce Willis. It was great and I thought, “Well, at least you met Bruce Willis and read scenes with him.” I guess we found a chemistry that worked for everybody.

4 Where did you come from?

I grew up in Australia and started acting when I was younger due to a lack of other options. It was an interest of mine that developed into a passion. It was a slow process for me. It’s funny when people say that you’re an overnight success. I think an overnight success can actually take forever.

5 Now that Bruce is getting a little bit older, does this mean that the franchise is yours now?

I’m glad people are responding to the film and the franchise is moving forward. We’ll see what happens next. Nothing is certain. It’s flattering to think I’m important to this franchise now, but your guess is as good as mine. I’d love to make another “Die Hard” with Bruce.

Big Picture News Inc.

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