The 30th anniversary of Die Hard was marked with a massive screening at the real-life Nakatomi Tower on Saturday night.
The action classic first came out in 1988. According to a report by Variety, 20th Century Fox celebrated the movie's birthday over the weekend in Los Angeles' Century City neighborhood, at the foot of Fox Plaza, the building which was used as Nakatomi Tower in Die Hard.
The studio packed the roof of its adjacent parking garage with seats, and after sunset, the movie was projected right in front of the tower itself. Some of the movies stars, including Bonny Bedelia and Reginald VelJohnson, were in attendance. They both helped introduce the film.
“[The tower] was kind of the star of the movie,” said Bedelia of the unorthodox setting for the event. Bedelia played Holly Gennaro McClane in the film.
“I love to meet intense fans,” added VelJohnson, who played Seargent Al Powell. “They always come up to you and say their favorite thing in the movie, and I’ll have to think a minute to remember what they’re talking about! But I watch it and I see things I didn’t even know were there before. It’s the kind of movie that always surprises you when you watch it.”
Reporters from Variety and other outlets got to tour the building as part of the event. The building's chief engineer pointed out its unique quirks and redundancies, which lead him to believe that the filming of movies like Die Hard was taken into consideration during construction.
The biggest example he pointed out was the air conditioning system, which had four enormous water chillers in the basement. The anonymous engineer told reporters that he had never needed more than one to cool the building, but the four of them seemed to be laid out aesthetically.
Later on, Bedelia talked about the unlikely series of events that put her on the screen as John McClane's distant wife. With a long career in dramas and soap operas, she admitted that she was not sure about the movie at first.
“I was not looking to do an action movie,” she admitted.
“I said, ‘That’s not me. That’s Sharon Stone or something. I’m just a gal.’ They didn’t want a glamour puss. They wanted someone who was pretty and could look like a leading lady, but had gravitas and you could believe was at a high level at a corporation, and yet could also look like she’d be married to a cop in New York. They were having a hard time casting it,” she added.
However, Bedelia was the top pick of Bruce Willis himself, and she said that producer Joel Silver convinced her to accept the part.
“He said to me, ‘You’re a wonderful actress and you’ve done wonderful work but more people will see you in this movie than the rest of your filmography put together,' " she recalled.
Meanwhile, VelJohnson revealed that he was just about to stop acting altogether, as the constant hustle was beginning to exhaust him.
“I had an interview at an advertising agency writing copy, and I was going to do the interview the next week,” he said. “Then when they called me for this role, I completely forgot about that and said, ‘I’m going to go out to California and do this.’ It was my last chance, so to speak.”0comments
The momentum from Die Hard propelled him into a long tenure on ABC's Family Matters.
Die Hard picked up several Oscar nominations in its 1989. It remains one of the most beloved films in its genre to this day.