NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08:  Alan Rickman attends the BAMcinematek screening of "Die Hard" at BAM Rose Cinemas on February 8, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Alan Rickman Almost Turned Down Die Hard But One Thing About The Script
His Mind
Alan Rickman began his career in the theater, having studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and making a name for himself on the theater circuit. When he was asked to play the memorable terrorist villain Hans Gruber in the iconic 1988 action movie "Die Hard," the actor needed some convincing.
Rickman recalled, "I read it and I said 'what the hell is this, I'm not doing an action movie.'" However, in a world where characters of color were underwritten and caricatured, Rickman found the script refreshing, noting, "Every single Black character in that film is positive and highly intelligent. So, 28 years ago, that's actually quite revolutionary and quietly so."
Characters like Sgt. Powell (Reginald VelJohnson), FBI Special Agent Johnson (Grand L. Bush), and Theo (Clarence Darnell Gilyard Jr.) are shown to be competent and clever throughout. Challenging the status quo was obviously important to Rickman, who maintained an appreciation for "Die Hard" and its unusually progressive script right up until his death in 2016.