MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD on 'LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD' Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
March 25, 2007
While promoting her film Grindhouse, Mary took some time to preview her upcoming summer blockbuster, Live Free or Die Hard, in which Bruce Willis reprises his iconic action role of John McClane. The movie is directed by Len Wiseman (the Underworld series) and features Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, and Justin Long.
In this interview, Mary talks about her character, how she got the part, and her experience of working with Bruce Willis. She also comments on seeing the younger version of her alter-ego in 1988's original Die Hard.
MEDIA: How would you describe your character in Live Free or Die Hard?
MARY: I play John McClane's daughter, Lucy McClane. And I guess I'm kind of like the Bonnie Bedelia characters were in the other films--kind of a damsel in distress in a way, but I'm still a McClane, so I get to be tough and throw a few punches and fight my way through it. So it was a lot of fun. I get to go from Grindhouse, where I play this really girly kind of sissy girl, to [being] a McClane. [laughs] It was pretty cool.
Did you get to work with Bruce Willis a lot?
Yeah. For most of the film, we are separated, but we did get to have quite a few scenes together. And the first day was a scene where we're having a huge fight. [laughs] So I walk on set and I'm like screaming at Bruce Willis. So that's kind of surreal. But it was great fun. He's such a cool, mellow, really hip kind of guy. So it was just really cool to be in his presence.
Most of your scenes are with Timothy Olyphant, yes?
Yeah, I have a lot of stuff with Timothy Olyphant. He's hilarious, so it's kind of strange that he's the villain.
Would you say the style of action in this installment is different than that seen in previous Die Hard films?
Ummm...Yeah, there's definitely...The action, I think, is different. I think it's more modernized, especially with the director, Len Wiseman, who does that amazingly. But it's still a Die Hard film because it's Bruce as John McClane--it's the one-liners, it's the brilliant character. I mean, that's the real reason why I think those movies are successful. And so that's why I hope this one will be, because he's the same old awesome John McClane.
Does Bruce have his signature "yippee-ki-yay..." line?
[laughs] He does.
And is he still wearing the signature wifebeater?
By the end, he kind of is in one. It's like bloody and tattered, but it's kind of a wifebeater. [laughs]
What is Lucy's relationship with Justin Long's character?
Well, we're together through a lot of the film. And it's not like a "relationship," but we have a bonding experience, definitely. He's a lot of fun to play opposite.
Lucy was a little girl in the first Die Hard, played by an actress who obviously wasn't you. Was it surreal to see that younger version of your character?
It's funny. I watched it again after I got the part, and I was like, "Hey, she kind of actually looks like me!" [laughs] This little 7-year-old girl with brown hair and bangs and everything. So that was kind of funny.
How did you get involved in this project?
It happened really quickly. I mean, they had sort of seen my other work and stuff and just offered it to me, and were like, "Do you want to come to work tomorrow?" basically. [laughs] So it was such a quick thing to be thrown into. And I had never played a character like this before, who's kind of like the fast talking tough girl. And so I was like, "Why did they hire me? Where did they see that?" But then I was like, "Oh, they knew that I could do it. And I can." It was really cool.
So you didn't really have to audition?
Well, I auditioned, but it was like a long time ago, back when the part was really small. I went in and I said like a few lines on camera. I mean, it was not enough to get me the part that it became. And I kind of was like, "Yeah, I guess I'll go in." And it was just the casting director and a camera. And apparently they saw a bunch of my other work, and the director was familiar with it, and the casting director also showed them a bunch of other audition tapes of other movies that I had been in on before, and other characters that I hadn't actually played in film, but [played] in the audition. So through all of that, I guess they decided I was the one for the part.
You just recently finished filming, yes?
A few weeks ago, yeah, we finished. Had the wrap party and everything. I'm really excited for it to come out. I just want everybody to see it and see that it really is rising to the occasion of the other three movies.