MTV's "Inside the Action" takes you inside the hottest action flicks by re-creating their most explosive stunts. On deck this week is "Live Free or Die Hard," (the show premieres on MTV Sunday night at 11:30pm) and we brought together co-stars Bruce Willis and Justin Long and director Len Wiseman to witness our fiery carnage first-hand. Watch a segment below -- or see the entire show here -- and then keep reading after the jump for the full behind-the-scenes report from the show's writer.
I've been going on MTV shoots for 8 years now (wow, that freaks me out), but this "Inside the Action" was certainly unusual. I mean, I'd never blown up a car before.
We arrived in L.A. on a Tuesday, giving us two and a half days to prepare. As the writer, instead of traveling to scout sites in the desert, I spent those first few days in my hotel room writing questions. Lots and lots of questions. Nothing but action for me.
We taped our pipe ramp stunt that Friday. You know the scene in the trailer where Bruce jumps out of a speeding car and it keeps going, crashing over a tollbooth and into the air before smashing into a helicopter (causing Justin Long1 to yell "You just killed a helicopter with a car!")? We did that, but without the helicopter… unlike blockbuster films, basic cable networks can't really afford helicopters. But we did have a stunt driver in the car the whole time. Basically, we paid him to endure one of the worst car crashes you can imagine: drive 50mph off a pipe ramp so the car flips in the air, crashes to the ground, then flips some more. Hopefully he got paid more than I did.
Bruce Willis, Justin Long, and director Len Wiseman2 all came by to watch the stunt. During the set-up, Len seemed disoriented by the sunlight (having been cooped up in an edit for weeks), while Bruce, besides making fun of our pathetic catering tent, just loved the fact that we let him say the F-word on camera3. Justin was by far the most nervous, even making references to peeing his pants. But once the action got going, all three became spellbound. Justin's jaw almost hit the floor as the car smashed to the ground (basically on its hood, which is exactly what we all hoped it wouldn't do, at least from a safety standpoint...but it did look pretty damn cool). And Bruce could barely contain himself, spontaneously running over to the wreckage to personally check on the driver.
The next day we demonstrated how to fire a missile at a car, blowing it into the air in a huge fireball, with a stuntman escaping just in the nick of time. Lots of safety precautions that day: earplugs, protective goggles, etc. Our safety guy actually asked the stunt coordinator if the stuntman running from the car was in danger of having his earplugs melt from the heat of the explosion. And if so, how we could remove them from his ears. When wind conditions forced us to finish the stunt by noon rather than 3:00pm as we originally expected, I'll admit we panicked a bit. But the team pulled together, and other than a rocket misfire on the first attempt, the stunt was great. I won't say anything else about it...you'll just have to tune in to see.
Speaking of which, I better plug the show. Watch "Inside the Action: Live Free or Die Hard," Sunday June 24th at 11:30pm on MTV.
1: Justin HATES that this line is in the trailer. He compares his reaction to Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, claiming he could've just as easily said "Zoinks!"
2: Attention MTV's programming and promo departments: all three are big fans of the show Scarred. No joke...they talked about it for like five minutes without anyone from MTV bringing it up. See if you can get them to endorse the show on-air.
3: I'm sure we'll edit the curses out. Sorry, Bruce.