The estate of William Shakespeare is demanding that the Elizabethan playwright’s name be credited in Die Hard, following the recent discovery in a drawer somewhere of a script that shares a central storyline, and much dialogue, with the classic 1989 suspense-thriller starring Bruce Willis.
The script, also entitled Die Hard, takes place in Verona. In it, a law enforcer named Giovanni McClane, who has come over from Milan to visit his annoying wife, singlehandedly thwarts the attempts of a group of German terrorists who have taken over a large church. It is thought that the play may be an allegory for the Reformation.
Whilst some spoilsport Shakespeare scholars have reason to doubt the authorship and authenticity of the piece, experts remain convinced. “It has all the classic hallmarks of The Bard’s work,” said Gregory Hansforth, Professor of Geology at the Aston Villa FC Centre for the Cremation of Rubbish Artwork. “It has all the sustained bloody violence and foul language that we associate with Shakespeare’s work, and such immortal lines as “Yipee-Kiyay, motherfucker!” show an astute understanding of metrical balance and iambic composition that we only really find in Shakespeare’s plays of this era.”
When told about the discovery, the film’s director John McTiernan, who shares a birthday with this author, told journalists: “What?? You’re shitting me, right?”*
Fans of the film were less surprised. “Shakespeare is one of the best writers ever, and Die Hard is the best film ever, so this seems legit,” said Peter Phillips of Chichester, who wished to remain anonymous.
Roderick Thorp, author of the book on which Die Hard is based, remains unapologetic. “I can’t remember if I was aware of the undiscovered Shakespeare play at the time, but it just goes to show how timeless the story is. If borrowing the storyline, characters and dialogue from another author makes me a thief, then I guess I’m a thief. But by those criteria, who isn’t? It’s not like Shakespeare himself came up with The Tempest all by himself.”*
The film’s makers meanwhile are all too happy to add Shakespeare’s name to the film. Someone who was involved said: “I think this is an important discovery, maybe as important as the Higgs-Boson or the circulation of blood. Die Hard is a story that really resonates with people, so I think it is great that we can now trace it back to the primates’ foremost man of letters.”
*None of the quotes by real people were actually said.