This ‘Die Hard’ star weighs in on Christmas movie debate

Bruce Willis as John McClane shimmies through a tight space in a still from “Die Hard”
20th Century Fox

American treasure Reginald VelJohnson is perhaps best known for playing a cop named Carl Winslow on the ’90s sitcom Family Matters. But he’s also well known for playing a cop in a different vehicle – the seminal Die Hard movie from 1988.

Sure, Die Hard is a classic action movie, and sure, it laid the groundwork for countless ’90s ‘kill all the bad guys and blow stuff up’ movies, but there’s another reason it stays firmly grounded in the public’s consciousness.

Depending on where you fall on the issue, Die Hard is either a Christmas movie or it’s not.

Now Veljohnson, who played Al Powell in the movie, has finally weighed in on the debate, even if his response is toeing the line a bit. He spoke to about the issue, and he was asked if he remembers when the debate about the movie’s status began.

Much newer for me. When I was filming the film Die Hard, I didn’t even think about it being a Christmas movie. I knew that there was a Christmas theme that was going on in the movie but it wasn’t a major focus of the movie. And I never really realized that it was going to be a Christmas movie until the audience told me that it was. And when the audience said that it was a Christmas movie. I said, ‘Yes and hell yes, it’s a Christmas movie, whatever you want to do. As long as you see the movie, I’m fine with it.’ But now that it’s become a Christmas theme movie, I’m fine with it. They showed it every Christmas and that’s fine with me. I’m okay with it.

Not the most committal answer, but it does lend a little credence to the argument. He was in the movie so his opinion obviously holds some weight. Seems like he’s not that concerned as long as people are watching it.

But whatever it takes to get these people to watch the movie, I’m fine with it. So if it’s a Christmas movie, you bet I’m on board. Yes, yes, yes.

Another interesting tidbit: he didn’t like watching himself acting at first.

Well, it took me a long time to get used to seeing myself on screen,” VelJohnson shared. “I didn’t used to like to watch myself, but after having done the TV show [Family Matters] and I kind of got used to seeing my old brain on film. So it’s okay, it’s cool. I watch it a little bit, see what I do and that’s it. I enjoyed watching the Planters peanut commercial. I enjoy me singing in it. It really is a lovely little spot and I really enjoyed it.

Here he is in that delightfully retro commercial.

Would he ever consider returning to the Die Hard franchise and playing Al again?

“I would like to play Al Powell again, I tell you. I don’t know. Whenever I do a role, I attack it with the urgency that this character deserves. And when I do it again, like the David Sutton [from Turner & Hooch] character, I did that again and it was interesting because I find new things about the character that I hadn’t focused on the first time I did it. But to revisit a character that you played before is an interesting thing. I try to bring something new to the character that I didn’t in the original concept of it. So I just, I don’t know, whenever they throw at me, I kind of find something different about it and do it. And that’s it.”

Honestly, they should just lean in and make A Die Hard Christmas already.