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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

John McClane

Detective Lieutenant John McClane
First appearance: Die Hard
Last appearance: Live Free or Die Hard
Portrayed by: Bruce Willis

Aliases: Cowboy Roy
Gender: Male
Occupation: Police officer
Title: Detective Lieutenant
Spouse(s): Holly Gennero McClane (divorced)
Children: John "Jack" McClane, Jr. Lucy McClane
Relatives: Kevin D'Arcy (Cousin)(Sister) Marc Coleman (Father-in-Law)

John McClane is a fictional character and the protagonist in the Die Hard series of films. He is portrayed by Bruce Willis. Premiere ranked him as number 46 of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time list.[1] In addition to appearing in the four Die Hard films, McClane also has an uncredited cameo appearance in Loaded Weapon 1. A famous catchphrase of the character is "Yippee ki-yay, mother fucker", which he says most commonly after killing a terrorist.

Development and description

McClane was originally based on the fictional character Detective Joe Leland from Roderick Thorp's novel, Nothing Lasts Forever, along with another character, Frank Malone from Walter H. Wager's novel 58 Minutes (later adapted as Die Hard 2) and is somewhat based on and inspired by Dirty Harry. Die Hard villain Hans Gruber describes him as an "American Cowboy" and as a John Wayne.

McClane's marriage is in a constant state of crisis, his vigilantism and disregard for authority have put him in danger of losing his job more than once, and he is a chain-smoker who is described as "two steps away from becoming a full blown alcoholic," which McClane jokingly upgrades to only "one step".[2]

The trailer for the first Die Hard film states, "That last thing McClane wants is be a hero, but he doesn't have a choice." In the fourth film, he says he gets involved in dangerous situations "because there is nobody else to do it."[3]


In Die Hard, John McClane is a detective with the New York City Police Department and has been an officer for 11 years. At the beginning of the first film, he is separated from his wife, Holly Gennero (Bonnie Bedelia), who is using her maiden name. Holly moved to Los Angeles several months earlier to pursue a career, leading to their separation. They have two children, Lucy and John, Jr.

On Christmas Eve, McClane visits his wife at her workplace at the Nakatomi Plaza. Simultaneously, Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman)initiates his plan to steal $640 million in bearer bonds and takes the Nakatomi employees, including Holly, hostage. McClane escapes during the initial round-up of the hostages and eventually defeats the criminals.

After the events of Die Hard, McClane moves to Los Angeles, promoted to lieutenant and transfers to the Los Angeles Police Department. During this time, McClane appears to have become a national hero. Dialogue in the second film reveals that he was featured in People Magazine, did a spot on Nightline, and was referred to (by the villain) as "the policeman hero who saved the Nakatomi hostages". Even a local news crew remembers him as the Nakatomi hero. In Die Hard 2, which takes place on Christmas Eve 1990[4], McClane discovers that mercenaries have seized control of Washington Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.. They take control of the airport's communications and threaten to cause plane crashes unless their demands are met. Holly is traveling on one of the planes and is stranded as her plane must circle overhead. McClane foils the scheme.

By the events of the third film, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Holly and John have separated and McClane has moved back to New York City. McClane mentions this strife as he and Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson foil Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons)'s plot to steal the Federal Reserve's gold bullion.

In Live Free or Die Hard, which takes place on Independence Day[5], McClane is assigned to take hacker Matt Farrell (Justin Long) into FBI custody. (McClane is mentioned as having been on the force for 30 years at the time of this film.) However, they soon discover that a group of terrorists are conducting a fire sale and are systematically taking out the nation's infastructure (including power plants, stop lights, transportation, and financial markets). McClane and his wife are divorced and McClane is not on speaking terms with his daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). During the course of this film Lucy is kidnapped by the terrorists as leverage against McClane.


Holly Gennero

Holly Gennero (formerly Holly Gennero McClane) is the wife of John McClane. Over the course of the series their relationship becomes more and more strained and by the fourth film, they are divorced. They have two children together, John Jr. and Lucy. Holly is portrayed in the first two films by actress Bonnie Bedelia.

When Holly is first introduced in Die Hard, she works at Nakatomi Plaza, a skyscraper in Los Angeles, which is home to a Japanese corporation. Her marriage to John has been estranged ever since she took up her new job and he refused to relocate with her from New York. Holly lives in L.A. with their children. They quickly get into an argument over why Holly chooses to use her maiden name (Gennero) at work, and are separated for most of the film while John fights the terrorists.

Holly does not return for the third film in the series, Die Hard with a Vengeance. She is mentioned in conversation and McClane makes an attempt to telephone her. She still resides in Los Angeles and is still married to McClane.

In Live Free or Die Hard, cyber-terrorist Thomas Gabriel pulls up a picture of her driver's license in one scene. He also notes that Holly and McClane are divorced.

Lucy McClane
Lucy McClane

Lucy McClane is John's daughter. She is played by Taylor Fry in Die Hard and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Live Free or Die Hard. Her first appearance is in Die Hard talking to her mother on the phone. In Live Free or Die Hard, she tells her boyfriend that McClane is dead and goes by her mother's maiden name, styling herself as Lucy Gennero.

Villain Thomas Gabriel kidnaps her and uses her as leverage against John McClane as McClane closes in on Gabriel. During the climactic scene, she grabs a gun and shoots the person who is holding her and attempts to slide a gun to her father, but is foiled.

Before Mary Elizabeth Winstead was chosen as Lucy McClane, there were other rumors as to who would play the role of McClane's daughter. It was speculated that Bruce Willis' real life daughter Rumer, who was born the same year that the original Die Hard was released, was a prime candidate for the part of Lucy McClane.[6] Jessica Simpson,[7] Britney Spears,[8] and Taylor Fry,[9] who played Lucy in the original Die Hard movie in 1988, had all previously auditioned for the role.

In the game Die Hard: Vendetta, Lucy is a member of the Los Angeles Police Department.

John McClane, Jr.

McClane's son appears briefly in the first film as a young child. He was portrayed by Noah Land. In Live Free or Die Hard, Thomas Gabriel refers to him by the name "Jack". In early drafts of the script of Live Free or Die Hard, John Jr. was set to be in the film. Justin Timberlake was considered for the role after impressing Willis in the film Alpha Dog.[10][11][12]


External links

Categories: Fictional Irish-Americans Fictional police detectives Fictional lieutenants Fictional characters from New York City


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