Shows on Quibi are 10 minutes or less, so each of the 10 episodes of “Die Hart” are about eight minutes long. Clancy said he had to write the script with a cliffhanger of sorts every eight minutes. But even taken as a whole, it could still work as a continuous movie.
He said he loved the title of the show “Die Hart” but was not surprised people on social media got confused and incorrectly presumed it was Hart playing the John McClane/Bruce Willis character from the “Die Hard” films.
“Die Hart” tweaks the idea of who an action star could be, noting in the series that Matt Damon went from “Good Will Hunting” to “Bourne Identity.” So why not Hart?
Hart is already well known for his work-out regimen so he is in shape to do stunts, which he has already done in films such as “Central Intelligence” and “Jumanji.”
But producers had to be careful. Filming happened just a few months after Hart seriously injured his back in a car accident last September.
“It was definitely a concern,” Clancy said. “Kevin is somebody who wants to go 200% every day. He does have a stunt double but he does a lot of his own kicking and punching and spins. He goes up on wires. He had a couple of days where he had a little pain. He did a good job hiding it. He’s such a professional. He’s not going to let anything get in the way of production.”
Travolta as Hart’s “teacher” was a no brainer, Clancy said. “He was the first person we went to. He wanted to work with Kevin. He loved the script. I don’t think he’s been sent that many comedy scripts recently. He’s been doing more villainous roles in recent years. He really got into this role. And once he was at the table read with Kevin, you could feel the energy of them feeding off each other. That’s when I knew we had something that was going to be special.”
Clancy said he wanted an action school alum to show up who could have conceivably gone through a school like this but not someone obvious. His pick in the end? Josh Hartnett (”Pearl Harbor,” “Black Hawk Down”). “He hasn’t done a lot of comedy,” he said, adding that Hartnett was all in, even allowing Clancy to write some obnoxious behavior for him. “He had a lot of fun playing a fictionalized version of himself.”
Quibi, which debuted in April and targeted on-the-go people when it launched, has been struggling to build a subscriber base in a pandemic environment where many people are not on the go at all. And the streaming landscape is even more crowded with the recent additions of Peacock and HBO Max.
“I am hoping that ‘Die Hart’ and other shows coming out like ‘The Princess Bride’ show recently will be a turning point and get eyeballs to Quibi,” Clancy said.