Either Wesley Snipes or Gene Hackman could have played the key role of Al Powell in action classic Die Hard. The original Die Hard set itself apart from other action movies in the 1980s by focusing on a grounded, relatable hero. Instead of the muscular heroics of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone or Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis’ John McClane was a regular cop. He had a failing marriage and a receding hairline, and had to push through the pain of his injuries to save the day.

It was a refreshing break from tradition at the time, and McClane’s relatability is part of the reason Die Hard has endured for so long. While the ...

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