Role winner could wind up front-and-center in Fox franchise

After securing a director and locking down a Valentine’s Day 2013 release date, Fox is ready to line up a young thesp alongside Bruce Willis for “A Good Day to Die Hard” — and whoever wins the job could wind up carrying the lucrative franchise forward.

Multiple sources tell Variety that in the coming days, Willis will begin reading with actors for the role of John McClane’s son.

Fox and Willis have been trying to get the latest “Die Hard,” directed by John Moore from a script by Skip Woods, off the ground for some time. After a handful of rewrites and the loss of its original director, Noam Murro, over scheduling conflicts, Fox and producer Alex Young seem to have the wheels in motion to get the film into production sometime in 2012.

Plot details are being kept under wraps — except that it will be set in Russia, with McClane and son fighting some sort of threat.

As the pic clears obstacles to production, the role of McClane’s son has been on the minds of most of the young actors in Hollywood. Insiders say it could open the door for someone to inherit the “Die Hard” franchise — much like Jeremy Renner could wind up the new face of Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” series, or Shia LaBeouf in “Indiana Jones.”

Given how much control Willis has over the property, the coming chem tests will be critical in determining who’ll get the gig.

Actors mentioned include Aaron Paul, but there have been numerous others, ranging from Paul Dano to Ben Foster (each of those two has worked with Willis in the past).

At this point, no thesp is said to have an inside track. The studio denied reports of multiple names cited, calling it “all misinformation and incorrect.”

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