17. Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Frank Sinatra, Arnold Schwarzenegger & Many Others Were Considered For John McClane
A ridiculous number of actors were considered to play John McClane over the years. Perhaps most notably, Clint Eastwood originally owned the rights to the novel the movie was based on, Nothing Lasts Forever, and planned to star in the film in the early 1980s.
As a legal formality, the part was also offered to a 73-year-old Frank Sinatra at one point, as he'd starred in the 1968 adaptation of the previous novel in the series, The Detective, before Die Hard was re-tooled to be a standalone movie.
The most plausible prospect for the role, however, was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had worked with director John McTiernan on Predator the year prior.
However, McTiernan ultimately wanted an "everyman" actor in the role, and so eventually opted for Bruce Willis.
Literally countless other actors were linked to various versions of the lead role over the years, such as Richard Gere, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Burt Reynolds, Paul Newman, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Charles Bronson, Don Johnson, Nick Nolte, Tom Berenger, Michael Madsen, and John Travolta.
Most of these actors turned the part down, though in Travolta's case, Fox brass reportedly thought he was a "has-been" and refused to even entertain the idea. Harsh.