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Chats, carpentry and sunshine: Die Hard director John McTiernan on why prison was ‘great’

He directed the most famous action films of the 90s – then was jailed in a wiretapping case. He talks about what he learned about America while inside – and the famous friends who stuck by him Prison, says John McTiernan, director of Die Hard, Predator and The Hunt for Red October, wasn’t as tough as he expected. “It was a former college campus in the upper midwest, no bars, no barbed wire, nothing. The only thing that was a little weird was that the locals, if they saw you on a crosswalk, would speed up and try to hit you.” McTiernan served 10 months in Yankton, South Dakota, between April 2013 and February 2014, before being released to house arrest for the rest of his sentence. He was convicted of lying to the FBI as part of the prosecution of private detective Anthony Pellicano for illegal wiretapping; McTiernan was accused of hiring Pellicano to tap the phones of Charles Roven, the producer of the 2002 film Rollerball, with whom he was in dispute. McTiernan’s stint in jail represented a remarkable fall from grace for a director who had been Hollywood A-list; after he left prison, he filed for bankruptcy. It is now 20 years since he directed a film, the badly received action-thriller Basic starring John Travolta in 2003, and far longer than that since his 1990s heyday. Continue reading...

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