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Bruce Willis knew Alan Rickman was best movie villain ever before Die Hard was even released

Bruce Willis knew Alan Rickman was best movie villain ever before Die Hard was even released

Bruce Willis was a fan of Alan Rickman before everyone else

Bruce Willis was one of Alan Rickman's most vocal supporters in the 1980s, calling his Die Hard character the greatest villain he's ever shared the screen with.

The retired Armageddon star - who celebrates his 68th birthday today (19 March) - featured opposite Rickman in what is possibly the greatest Christmas action movie ever made (No doubt Die Hard can be considered a holiday movie at this stage, the debate was settled long ago).

The 1988 film, directed by John McTiernan, saw Willis in the iconic role of NYPD detective John McClane flying to Los Angeles to spend the holidays with his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia).

Unfortunately, Rickman's baddie Hans Gruber had other plans in store for them when he takes hostage Holly and all other Nakatomi Corporate employees during their Christmas party.

It was up to John to come up with inventive ways to save Holly and the rest of the people trapped in the Nakatomi Tower, with his cop character involved in a tense face-off with Rickman's terrorist.

Hans Gruber was Alan Rickman's first film role.
20th Century Fox

The role marked Rickman's first onscreen appearance and effectively put the late theatre actor on Hollywood's map.

He went on to star in films such as Sense and Sensibility, Galaxy Quest and Love Actually, as well as playing Severus Snape in the iconic Harry Potter film franchise.

During an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1988, Willis seems to confirm that he was a big fan of Rickman, like the rest of us.

When asking about his role in Die Hard, Willis gushed over the movie, saying he was 'very excited' about the film. Part of his enthusiasm, of course, was due to working with Rickman.

"Die Hard was actually some of the first work that I’ve done in a while that I’m really, very excited about," Willis told the presenter.

Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
20th Century Fox

Winfrey, too, was impressed with Rickman's portrayal of Hans, asking the lead actor about him.

"He’s one of the best villains ever, he’s just so good," Willis said of his co-star.

Speaking of Die Hard, which would prove a box-office hit and spawn a franchise including four sequels, Willis said the film was 'different' for him.

"It’s a different way of working," he said, adding: "This part was a lot harder than just about anything I’ve done for a lot of reasons."

"They really kinda beat me up in this thing, it’s a very physical part. I did a lot of my own stunts in it."

Featured Image Credit: WLS-TV Chicago/Warner Bros.

Topics: Celebrity, Film and TV, Bruce Willis