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Taking original ‘Die Hard’ villain Theo to the latest sequel

UNLV professor Clarence Gilyard shares his thoughts on the new film and his character’s possible future

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Clarence Gilyard, the immortal Theo in the original Die Hard, accompanied Josh Bell to a screening of A Good Day to Die Hard. Seriously, how cool is that?

He’s not the main villain in the original Die Hard, but nerdy safe-breaker Theo remains an indelible character, both for actor Clarence Gilyard’s portrayal and his infinitely quotable lines:

“Oh my God, the quarterback is toast!”

“What have we here, gentlemen? The police have themselves an RV.”

“'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except ... the four assholes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation.”

Weekly film critic Josh Bell asked Gilyard—a professor in UNLV’s theater department—to be his plus-1 for Tuesday night’s screening, and Theo, er, Gilyard took him up on it. Here are a few of his observations on the new installment.

On former co-star Bruce Willis: “It was good seeing Bruce. I’m always mystified at how amazingly in shape he is. He must have the trainer of a lifetime. And he’s still funny. I don’t think the kid [Jai Courtney] was really up to Bruce’s chops as far as making something like that fly. I’m sure if the kid had really held his own, then Bruce would have been able to have somebody to work off of.”

On how the film compares to the original: “When you go back and you look at the first one, Alan [Rickman] is fantastic. He’s just absolutely iconic. That really makes that picture. Alan was unbelievable, and nasty, and disgusting, and irreverent. And all of us ancillary characters wished we were him. And there’s none of that. It’s just, Bruce is back, and there’s a lot of computerized cars getting mashed up.”

On what might have happened to his character: “I think probably Theo would have gone to jail. And I think because of the character that was developed, that he would be working for Interpol or the CIA in a very high-level covert capacity. I think that the most plausible thing would be for either Theo to be the true antagonist later on, or for him to somehow hook up with McClane and solve something.”

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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