As the villain in "Live Free or Die Hard," Timothy Olyphant has some big shoes to fill. Alan Rickman began a whole career as villains based on the original, and Jeremy Irons did pretty well in "With a Vengeance." Thinking about Rickman, Olyphant feels self-conscious.
"His is going to be much better," Olyphant said. "That’s a little guess. It really is quite different. I just started this week so we’re kind of feeling it out."
Rickman’s Hans Gruber was a fun loving thief using terrorism as a cover for the heist. Olyphant’s is the real deal. "It’s a cyber-terrorist plot based on this article that was in Wired magazine a few years ago saying that as horrific and sad as it was seeing a building come down, the real threat to the country was cyber-terrorism. If somebody were to hack into that infra-structure, they could cripple the country in a matter of days. This character is a guy who used to work for the government and warned them of this possibility and is now carrying it out. So, in its own right, it’s a different character, a different villain. There’s something that feels a little bit more unstable about someone who would do that kind of a thing. It was a guy whose career was ruined and is now saying ‘I told you so.’"
In the early stages of production, Olyphant has yet to be beaten up or blown up. "Not yet, but I have a sneaky suspicion…"