John McClane may yet save the day one more time.
Twentieth Century Fox has hired Doug Richardson to rewrite “Die Hard 4,” which is being developed under the supervision of star Bruce Willis and his Cheyenne Enterprises partner Arnold Rifkin.
Richardson just completed writing “Hostage,” the Florent Siri-directed, Stratus-financed adaptation of the Robert Crais novel that stars Willis and will be distributed by Miramax.
The scribe has become a go-to guy for Willis and Rifkin, having scripted three Cheyenne projects: the Elmore Leonard novella adaptation “Tenkiller,” “True Believers” and “Black Water Transit,” a Revolution project.
Richardson will be rewriting a script by Mark Bomback, who redrafted a pre-existing Fox script called “World War 3.com.” Richardson’s deal is being finalized by WMA, but he will be working from the same storyline.
Studios having trouble coming up with good sequel stories sometimes tap pre-existing scripts. Warner Bros. employed George Nolfi to transform his script “Honor Among Thieves” into “Ocean’s Twelve,” and Fox had great luck using the Jonathan Hensleigh script “Simon Says” as the basis for “Die Hard With a Vengeance.”
The most recent example of a separate script considered for a sequel is “Passion of the Ark,” a script by Bobby Florsheim and Josh Stolberg that Columbia bought. It may serve as the basis for a second installment of “Bruce Almighty,” with Jim Carrey and Tom Shadyac expected to reprise.
For Fox, another “Die Hard” could be a useful tentpole, especially with superhero franchise “X-Men” on uncertain ground after director Bryan Singer took the “Superman” job instead of “X-Men 3.”
“Die Hard With a Vengeance” grossed $100 million domestic and $254 million overseas. That beat “Die Hard 2,” which grossed $100 million domestic and $119 foreign. The original “Die Hard” grossed $83 million domestic.
John McTiernan directed the original and third installment, but it is unclear whether he will return for a third film.