From behind the clerk counter and into ... a Bruce Willis-starring action vehicle?
Fans of "Clerks" director Kevin Smith were shocked last week when the 36-year-old actor/filmmaker revealed on his blog that he had recently spent five days filming a role for "Live Free or Die Hard," the fourth installment of the popular action franchise. Calling his scene "dope," Smith elaborated to MTV on what he said was "a pretty cool role."
"I play this master hacker called the Warlock," the actor better known as Silent Bob divulged. "[The characters] refer to me throughout the movie quite a bit and then finally go see me at the head of Act III."
The characters Smith referred to are John McClane (Willis) and Matt Foster (Justin Long), a young computer genius McClane has in custody before the pair get caught up in a cyber-terrorist plot to overthrow the United States government.
Realizing Foster may be the only one smart enough to outwit the hackers, McClane takes him on the lam — hoping to figure out bad guy Greg (Timothy Olyphant)'s plan before he's able to systematically shut down the country's computer infrastructure.
But why? And how? Smith says that's where his character comes in.
"I'm exposition guy. Like, I'm the dude who gives them all sorts of information," Smith revealed. "I'm like Joe Pesci in 'JFK.' I've got a real paranoid scene like that."
It's a big shift for a man who makes his living telling crass jokes, but Smith says fans of the series shouldn't be concerned that his cameo is stunt casting.
"It's not like it sticks out like a sore thumb and all of a sudden you're in a different movie," he said. "It's not like, 'Let's take a f---ing break and play some jokes on the fat dude.' It's still in the 'Die Hard' universe."
According to Smith, keeping things believable and within the realm of the other "Die Hard" films was something that was continually stressed on set, from director Len Wiseman to star Bruce Willis.
"That seemed to be a running note that they would give themselves on set. With any particular line they would go, 'That's not "Die Hard," let's make it more "Die Hard," ' " Smith asserted. "It's not a matter of being better than the other 'Die Hard's. It's a matter of being as good — they're just honoring the franchise."
Smith had plenty of time on set to notice. Despite filming only one scene (albeit a long one), Smith was on set for a total of five days.
"It's a pretty long scene. It's about nine or 10 pages broken up into two sections. Len Wiseman is a good director in as much as he'll shoot 180 different angles of the same scene," Smith contended. He added with a brief chuckle: "Me, I'd have been done with that scene in one day, just because I would have set up one camera, it would have happened in front of it, and we would have been done."
For Smith, working on "Live Free or Die Hard" — and particularly with "Bruce f---ing Willis" — was a dream come true, especially because he feels the fourth "Die Hard" has a chance to be so good.
"It's one of those ideas where you could see this working," Smith concluded. "I read the script the day before I went to shoot, and, whether I was in it or not, I would like to see this movie."
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