You may have heard that the director of “Die Hard” is at the Yankton Federal Prison Camp.
John McTiernan is a legendary director who also made movies such as “Predator,” “Die Hard: With a Vengeance,” “The Hunt For Red October,” “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “Last Action Hero.”
His case has been well-publicized, and there is a celebrity-enriched campaign to get McTiernan out of prison.
Last week, I made a request to interview McTiernan, hoping to speak to him about his case and what he thinks of all the friend and fan support he has received since arriving in Yankton.
Yesterday, I learned that he had declined that request.
I’m the Barbara Walters of Yankton, damn it! I had the soft lighting, box of tissues and professional mix of hard-hitting and softball questions all ready to go! How could McTiernan deny himself this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak with a real Heartland-bred (and immaculately coiffed — because you don’t get to be the Barbara Walters of Yankton without being immaculately coiffed) journalist instead of some ego-driven Hollywood flack???
I have no idea.
Maybe he wants to serve out his sentence in peace. Maybe he thinks drawing attention to himself will create waves in the corrections system and hurt his chances of getting out early. Heck, maybe he just isn’t interested in talking to some guy he’s never met in a town he’d really rather not be visiting.
I suppose those are valid reasons.
But as a guy who grew up with “Die Hard,” “Predator,” etc., it would have been cool to talk to McTiernan and let fans know how he is doing. However, some interview requests are born to “Die Hard.”
In any case, I wish McTiernan the best and hope he can put his legal issues behind him soon.
The Guardian wrote about McTiernan and his case earlier this month:
He’s one of Hollywood’s most celebrated filmmakers, has worked with Sean Connery, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson, and grossed hundreds of millions at the box office. And he is now serving a 12-month jail sentence in South Dakota.
John McTiernan, the director and producer of Predator, Die Hard, The Hunt For Red October and Last Action Hero, is now federal penitentiary prisoner 43029-11.
It’s a spectacular fall from a stellar Hollywood career that made him a fortune to remote Yankton prison.
Instead of being in a director’s chair on the set of a new movie, the 62-year-old is wearing khaki prison uniform, engaged in a series of relatively modest jobs, from unloading deliveries to renovating the warden’s wooden floor.
He is two months into a 12-month prison sentence for perjury and lying to the FBI during an investigation into a wiretapping scandal. It is a convoluted case, involving a dispute over a remake of the movie Rollerball, the employment of a Los Angeles private eye and, the crux of the case, a late-night call from an FBI agent.
In a series of phone interviews with the Guardian, his wife Gail Sistrunk McTiernan, fighting for his release, spoke in detail about the impact of loss of freedom. Unlike the tough guys he portrayed in his movies, he is not coping well with adversity.
Yankton is a minimal-security prison, based in former college buildings, and houses about 800 male prisoners, many of them convicted of white-collar crimes. Forbes rated it one of “America’s 10 cushiest prisons”.
But McTiernan is finding it to be anything but cushy, according to his wife. “Going to prison has been very hard for him,” she said. “They have taken away his life and dignity. I am just distraught.”
Her last visit, at the end of May, was one of the worst. “I lost count of the number of times he broke down,” she said. He is “disintegrating in front of my eyes”.
McTiernan went in on April 3. He and his wife were driven through the night from their ranch in Dayton, Wyoming, to make the midday deadline, engaged in feverish discussion with their lawyer, hoping for a last-minute reprieve.
Sistrunk McTiernan said: “We thought we would not make it in time and the marshals would come after us. It was typical McTiernan to arrive at the noon-day horn.” She said he turned to her and told her: “Do what you have to do, baby.” He told her that she should leave before they took him away. “I would not have handled it very well,” she said.
He had hoped for a teaching job in prison but instead has been assigned to a construction and maintenance crew.
He is in a barracks, shared with about 20 others. “He is grateful he got the lower bunk. I think the older men get the lower bunk because they have to get up in the middle of the night,” she said.
Read the rest of the story here.
There is also a “Free John McTiernan” page on Facebook. Take a look.