In the late 1970s, long before an optimistic era of popcorn fare invaded theaters with the likes of steroidal heroes such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, a young bartender from south Jersey named “Bruno” had worked the service bar at Cafe Central on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Eventually, the barkeep-turned-actor would grace the small screen opposite Cybill Shepherd in the ABC series “Moonlighting” and, with a few turns of luck, the big screen in the unlikely role of John McClane.
Bruce Willis would then forever be recognized as the world’s ultimate anti-hero, a blue-collar Everyman with the worst luck, always surrounded by terrorists taking over something or other. And, in this definitive oral history of “Die Hard,” writers, actors, producers, and studio executives reveal behind-the-scenes stories, from the curious origins of the film’s title, to the script’s evolution from a depressing ‘70s character study to an optimistic Reagan-era blockbuster, to the seminal negotiations between 20th Century Fox and Willis’s then-agent which sent his client’s career into the stratosphere, to details of moguls Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver’s famously tumultuous relationship while developing some of the ’80s most successful franchises.
Brian Abrams’ first book, “Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery, and Mischief from the Oval Office” (Workman Publishing), was released in February 2015 and earned attention from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, NPR, and Vanity Fair. His Kindle Singles, “AND NOW…An Oral History of ‘Late Night with David Letterman,’ 1982-1993” and “Gawker: An Oral History” became #1 bestsellers in 2014 and in 2015. He is editor-in-chief of the news and culture site Death and Taxes Magazine and lives in New York City.