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“Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs …”
That’s what John McClane, aka Bruce Willis, did Thursday when 20th Century Fox celebrated the 25th anniversary of his breakthrough hit (and that iconic quote) with a permanent mural of his Die Hard character on the side of Soundstage 8 on the Fox lot in Century City.
To Fox Filmed Entertainment chair Jim Gianopulos, the decision to immortalize the franchise was a no-brainer. “If you look around the lot, there’s Star Wars, The Simpsons, The Sound of Music, all classic properties that have defined the studio’s history,” he told a crowd assembled for the ceremony. “This is another iconic film with a singular and enduring legacy. At the heart of it is a character who’s a combination of Everyman and Superman. He’s the classic reluctant hero who finds himself and rises to the occasion.”
“This is really nice,” Willis said, standing in front a giant curtain concealing the mural before its unveiling. “I started on Stage 20 at Fox. I’m so honored. Thank you so much.”
He was then handed a detonator and, as the Fox fanfare played, a row of fireworks ignited over the stage as the curtain dropped to reveal the iconic image of Willis’ New York cop crawling through an air shaft in the 1988 film.
The star looked a little awed at the revelation of the 35-foot-tall mural, by muralist Van Hecht-Nielsen and painter Fernando Cepeda.
“Twenty-five years. I don’t really notice the passage of time,” Willis said later. “At the time, I didn’t know what it was. And the idea of sequels hadn’t happened yet. I probably should have been paying more attention.”
The mural’s dedication was followed by an advance screening of the franchise’s fifth installment, A Good Day to Die Hard, which opens Feb. 14, and a party in the ill-fated Nakatomi Plaza (in real life, the still-standing Fox Plaza).
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