Live Free or Die Hard 4.0 – starring Bruce Willis


JUNE 24, 1995
Rugby Captain Francois Pienaar of South Africa receives the
William Webb Ellis Trophy from President Nelson Mandela
after South Africa beat New Zealand to win the
Rugby World Cup Final at Ellis Park, Johannesburg


I have been involved with two feature films.

First, Bruce Willis’ ‘Die Hard 4’, released in 2007. The process by
which this came about was unusual. I wrote an article for ‘Wired’
magazine about information warfare, which means war by
computer, when I was working for the Independent in Washington, in 1997. Four or five months after publication a man identifying himself as a producer for Twentieth Century Fox said he wanted to buy the rights to my article. Flabbergasted, I collected myself sufficiently to say that I had to talk to my agent. I then found and agent and a little later a deal was made. A screenrwiter came out to see me in Washington and a couple of years later a script was written for a film to be titled WW3.COM. More time passed and a director was found, Luc Besson, the Frenchman who’d made Nikita and the Fifth Element, among other terrific action films. But then September 11 happened and making such a film seemed woefully inappropriate. The project was ditched, only to resurface six years later as the all-action ‘Die Hard 4’. There was some similarity to my initial article but, as a New York Times reviewer wryly pointed out, what the film patently did not do was honour the spirit of the article’s title, ‘Farewell to Arms’

The most recent is ‘Invictus’, based on my book ‘Playing the Enemy’, which will have its world premiere in the US on 11 December 2009. There’s a whole long story as to how this came about, but the key point is that I met Morgan Freeman by absolute chance in a small town in Mississippi in June 2006 and it all took off from there. He had been wanting to play Mandela for several years but had not found a filmable story. This, it turned out, was it. Five months later we closed a deal, a screenwriter called Tony Peckham came over from California to pick my brains for a week. The script he came up with was great, faithful to Mandela and to the spirit of the epic political transition over which he presided,. Morgan Freeman loved it. So did his pal Clint Eastwood. Warner Bros too. Freeman plays Mandela, Matt Damon plays the South African rugby captain, Francois Pienaar, and Eastwood directed. The film was shot entirely on location in South Africa. Shooting lasted two months, ending in early May 2009.


Wired Article pdf

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