Whatever happened to… John McTiernan
John McTiernan is one of the directors that shaped our childhood, and turned it into a filmic journey instead of one based around sports or whatever boring stuff other kids were into. We grew up in a pre-streaming age with a limited amount of VHS tapes at our disposal, yet two of his movies never got erased: Die Hard and Predator.
These were two action movies that survived the 80s, an era plagued with cheesy masochism and little substance. Die Hard made an impression on us with its wise-cracking lead, and Predator with the way it build up a seemingly invulnerable crew, only to have us see them get outwitted by an alien monster. Both are masterpieces in action cinema, and are still heavily influential.
So why is John McTiernan not making movies anymore? Once a director has built up enough credit, it seems he can never end up in director jail. Ridley Scott is still going at it, and William Friedkin managed to crawl out of his string of duds.
Right now McTiernan only has 11 movies in his name. Outside of the two we mentioned, 5 other ones have value to them, even if not all of them are fully successful: The Hunt for Red October, Last Action Hero (you heard us), Die Hard with a Vengeance, The 13th Warrior, and The Thomas Crown Affair. It’s true Rollerball is a horribly misguided remake, but Basic was at least watchably bad.
Doing research at least explains where John McTiernan has been for these last years. In 2013 he went to jail for lying in an investigation about running a wire-tap on producer Charles Roven by using private investigator Anthony Pellicano. He got released from jail in 2014. Since the lawsuit started in 2006, that explains why his output since Basic has been nil. According to speculation, McTiernan placed the tap on Roven because he suspected him of being responsible for leaking bad buzz about Rollerball.
More recently, in 2016, McTiernan waged a legal war against the bank that cost him his home. It seems clear that McTiernan not working doesn’t seem to be a case of being placed in director’s jail, but a case of being caught up in legal matters. If McTiernan will bounce back from this, and release a new project is to be seen. Nothing is officially announced yet.