Die Hard 2 wanted more Al Powell, and VelJohnson wished he could have done more

After Die Hard, VelJohnson landed an even more pivotal role for himslf. He played Carl Winslow, a policeman father in the TGIF sitcom Family Matters. VelJohnson shared how a producer of Family Matters saw Die Hard and asked VelJohnson to audition for the series.

By the time Die Hard 2 was in production, VelJohnson was filming Family Matters. Powell still has a cameo in the sequel. Since it is set at Dulles Airport when terrorists overtake the airport to free a dictator, McClane faxes some fingerprints to his old buddy Al in Los Angeles.

“I must say, Joel Silver was very angry with me because I couldn’t be in the whole second film because I was doing Family Matters at the time,” VelJohnson said. “He said, ‘That show is never going to work.’ I said, ‘Well, you know, I’m contracted to do this TV show.’ I was only in the second film for one little scene. I was very upset I wasn’t in the whole film because I wanted to be in the second film, but I couldn’t.”

Bedelia filmed her entire Die Hard 2 part in three days

Die Hard 2 was able to reunite much of the cast of Die Hard one. Having reconciled, the McClanes were visiting Holly’s family in D.C. Besides Powell’s cameo, TV reporter Richard Thornburg was on Holly’s flight.

Since Holly’s role in the sequel was sitting on the plane waiting to land, it only took three days to film. Holly figures out there’s a problem the flight crew isn’t sharing, and once again stops Thornburg from using the situation to forward his career, but there’s only so much she can do sitting on a plane.

“It wasn’t as much fun though,” Bedelia said. “You know, I only worked about three days on Die Hard 2. I’m on the plane.”

DeSouza almost wrote Die Hard 3 on a boat

The original plan for Die Hard 3 was to have the McClanes on an oceanliner. By 1992, Under Siege already did “Die Hard on a boat,” but De Souza said he was still working on the boat sequel before it fell through.

“Joel and I and Larry [Gordon] had talked about doing Die Hard 3. The third one was going to be on an oceanliner. Not Speed [2: Cruise Control]. It was going to be they take a vacation to get away from all this stuff and it happens.”

Ultimately, Silver and Gordon left the Die Hard franchise. Cinergi hooked up with 20th Century Fox to produce Die Hard with a Vengeance, based on Jonathan Hensleigh’s script Simon Says. McTiernan returned though and did ask De Souza to work on it.

“Then when the property was I guess sold to the independent production company, John McTiernan brought me in,” De Souza said. “[Holly] would’ve been in the movie had I done it. McTiernan brought me in originally to adapt that script but I was contractually involved with another project I started and couldn’t get away from it.”

De Souza’s subliminal reference for Hans Gruber

With Alan Rickman’s portrayal, Hans Gruber became one of the most memorable villains in cinema history. However, De Souza realized after the fact that he’d borrowed the name Hans Gruber from a 1966 spy comedy.

“I realized it was Our Man Flint,” De Souza said.

The Flint series only lasted two movies, with James Coburn playing secret agent Derek Flint in an answer to the then-new James Bond franchise. Michael St. Clair plays a character named Hans Gruber in the sequel to In Like Flint. 

St. Clair’s Hans Gruber was merely a henchman for the evil organization known Galaxy. Flint easily kills him in a toilet. De Souza liked the name and the rest is history.

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