Willis’ John McClane arrives in Moscow and learns that Jack, far from being a criminal, is a CIA operative, three years into an undercover mission to protect a Russian thief-turned-whistleblower, Komarov (Sebastian Koch). Having grown a conscience, Komarov is determined to testify against a former partner and thwart his ambitions for higher political office.
The role of Jack McClane went to young Australian actor Jai Courtney, who co-starred in the 2010 season of the series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” and as Tom Cruise’s fearsome adversary in “Jack Reacher.” “I auditioned a couple of times for the role of Jack McClane, and of course wasn’t expecting anything to come of it,” Jai recalls, “because I knew they were casting a really wide net. I had just wrapped Jack Reacher in Pittsburgh, and was homebound to Sydney. Literally, I was walking down the jet way to my connecting flight at LAX when my agent called and said, don’t leave – they want you to read with Bruce! I did a test with him a week later, and some time afterwards got the good news. It’s been a fantastic experience. Bruce is one of those guys I grew up watching on screen and the Die Hard franchise is so iconic.”
Adds Willis: “Jai got the character and he just seemed like family – like a McClane.” And director John Moore notes that, “Jai brings an intelligence and suaveness to the character. But he’s also a much more physical presence than we initially envisaged for Jack. But once Jai auditioned, we said, let’s go with the big guy because he’s right for the role.”
As the son of New York’s most famous cop, Courtney’s Jack proves that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. He displays his father’s sense of duty, courage and willingness to place his life in danger to protect others. “Jack has been living as a Russian, speaking the language, and infiltrating different groups to try to get to the bottom of the disastrous heist,” says Courtney. “He’s shocked when his dad arrives at a crucial moment and blows his cover. He doesn’t want his help; in fact he wants nothing to do with him. Jack is determined to prove he can do this on his own terms and that he’s his own man.”
Under a hail of gunfire, the McClanes manage a desperate escape, and must regroup to figure out how to get to rescue Komarov, who is now in the hands of the group Jack is after. Jack McClane is out of answers, and must turn to John for help. Says Jai Courtney: “Jack takes a methodical approach to his work, probably out of a backlash to his father’s knack for winging it and hoping for the best. But he’s now in a situation where there’s no book to guide him, he has no answers and is at the breaking point. His dad’s instincts are to never quit, regardless of the cost, and in this terrible situation Jack sees that very clearly – maybe for the first time. It gives Jack deeper insight and respect for John’s values. It’s a turning point.”
“This is a father-son story in which they are trying to complete a dangerous mission while also attempting to mend a fractured relationship,” says Wyck Godfrey. “Jack’s first reaction is, Get out of here, dad, I don’t need your help. But what he really wants is to hear his father say, you’re doing great, son, I’m proud of you. And that’s the beauty of this story. We’re playing out a relationship drama in the midst of a thrilling Die Hard story.”
Adds executive producer Jason Keller: “John and Jack find themselves off the grid, in deep trouble, with no help. Jack doesn’t know what to do, and his father pulls him back and says that we can do this. And the key moment in the film happens when Jack chooses to swallow his pride and accept John’s help. Now you have two McClanes working together, which is more than our bad guys ever bargained for.”
“A Good Day To Die Hard” opens February 13 in cinemas nationwide – also available in 2D digital and 2D Imax format from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.
Watch Jai Courtney introduce himself and his character as he invites all to watch his starring debut in “A Good Day to Die Hard”: