In 1999, with ENEMY OF THE STATE green lit and moving into production at Hollywood Pictures, I was approached by Peter Rice, a development exec. at the time at 20th Century Fox. He had just optioned a WIRED Magazine article by John Carlin entitled A FAREWELL TO ARMS. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.05/netizen_pr.html
Peter wanted to know if I'd be interested in taking the basics of the article and crafting them into a feature action picture for Fox. Carlin's article was about how America's entire electronic infrastructure was managed by computers and therefore vulnerable to hack-attacks on a large scale. The country could be brought to her knees, not by overt attack with bombers and missiles, but rather by a dedicated nefarious group of hackers tasked with a mission to destroy the infrastructure. Power grids, internet, financials, you name it.
I read the article and found it captivating. It also dovetailed nicely with a lot of the high-tech research I had done for Enemy of the State, so I agreed and took the project on. After several months of extensive research where I met with various Military experts, spent some time at the Army War Collage, met with one of the inventors of the internet and had the pleasure to meet with Senator Patrick Leahy to discuss privacy concerns and the internet, I dove into the actual writing of the script. After several drafts, revisions and polishes, the film, now titled "WW3.com" became a "go" and Fox started their search for a director. http://variety.com/1998/film/news/fox-eyes-ww3-com-as-tentpole-for-1999-1117467113/
As the package was finally coming together, a real-life tragedy struck in the form of 9/11. As the nation went into grieving and war mode, the studios re-evaluated the types of films they needed to make for the audiences, which translated to subjects that were somehow uplifting. Films designed to entertain in the form of comedies and light-heartedness.
Thus, my film about cyber-terrorism was shelved and dumped into a script purgatory, if you will. A place where it would just gather dust and probably never escape from.
Cut to several years later, when the studio was struggling with an idea for their next instalment of the Die Hard franchise. They had already paid several writers to do several drafts of things that weren't working. So after a great amount of development monies spent, they had nothing usable. Eventually someone at Fox remembered my WW3.com and said, why don't we just rewrite it and turn it into the sequal?
After revisiting the material, they all agreed it was doable and would provide a fresh arena for the John McClane character. And so it began. I was on another project at the time, so they hired the writer Mark Bomback and tasked him with morphing WW3.com into LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD.
I was happy my script was resurrected as often times when a script gets "shelved" it usually signifies it's death. And through the script I originally crafted was more political and harder-hitting at the underlying issues, I did take pleasure at seeing a semblance of my work finally hit the screen.
~ David Marconi
It's the beginning of the Fourth of July weekend, but New York City Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) isn't celebrating. He's had yet another argument with his college-age daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and received a crushingly routine assignment to bring in a young hacker, Matt Farrell (Justin Long), for questioning by the FBI.
But for McClane, the ordinary has a habit of exploding into the extraordinary--abruptly hurtling him into the wrong place at the wrong time.
With Farrell's help, McClane slowly begins to understand the increasing chaos surrounding him. An attack is underway on the vulnerable United States infrastructure, shutting down the entire nation. The mysterious figure behind the scheme, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), stays several moves ahead of McClane as he implements his incredible plans, known to uber-geeks like Farrell as a "fire sale" (as in, everything must go!)