The hunt is on for the next generation of action stars. Tom Cruise is handing the baton over to Jeremy Renner with “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”, who will also take over the “Bourne” franchise from Matt Damon, and Liam Hemsworth is attempting to kick ass alongside every action star you can think of in “The Expendables 2″, and now the search turns to a potential heir to the iconic Bruce Willis-led “Die Hard” series. Variety reports Aaron Paul, Ben Foster, Paul Dano and Milo Ventigmilia will be reading with Willis for the role of John McClane’s son. And yes, the “son of legendary action hero” archetype hasn’t quite worked out so well in recent memory, as Ventigmilia (he’s already had a go of this as Sylvester Stallone’s son in “Rocky Balboa”) and Shia LaBeouf (Harrison Ford’s son in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”) can tell you, but 20th Century Fox is said to be considering handing the franchise off to the young star it chooses should it prove lucrative.
Paul won an Emmy in 2010 for his role on AMC’s critically acclaimed “Breaking Bad” and has recently started to sign on to film projects, the most recent being dark comedy “Smashed” opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Foster has been turning in solid performances for years in films like “Alpha Dog” and “3:10 to Yuma” and is currently shooting Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus.” Dano is a bit of an unconventional action hero prospect, often starring as oddball supporting characters in award-winning films like “There Will Be Blood” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” He has reunited with the creative team behind “Sunshine” to make “She Loves Me”, another quirky indie comedy written by real-life girlfriend Zoe Kazan. Ventigmilia is perhaps the least of the acting heavyweights among the four, known mostly for his role on TV series like “Gilmore Girls” and “Heroes”, and the aforementioned less than successful “Rocky Balboa.”
The studio is also said to be interested in Paul Walker, but being much more high profile that his younger competitors, he’s not expected to screen test. Walker would be kind of a stale and boring choice, if you ask us, pretty much akin to Renner and “Bourne”, but even worse, since Walker has been headlining his own “Fast and the Furious” action franchise for years. If Walker gets the gig here, we can only assume Fox, just as Paramount did on “Bourne”, decided to play it safe.
“A Good Day to Die Hard”, to be directed by John Moore, is set for a February 14, 2013 release date, with production slated for sometime in 2012.