John Leguizamo has revealed that he channelled Alan Rickman's iconic Die Hard villain Hans Gruber while playing the antagonist in new festive action-comedy Violent Night.

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The film sees Leguizamo play a mercenary leader aptly codenamed Scrooge, whose attempts to take a wealthy family hostage are upended when he comes face to face with a very extreme incarnation of Santa played by David Harbour.

All sorts of brutal action scenes ensue, and in an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com Leguziamo explained how Rickman's portrayal of Gruber was an important point of reference for his character.

"I definitely thought of Alan Rickman because I thought he was phenomenal, man," he said.

"He was very real, scary, super intelligent and I wanted to, you know, bring those qualities to Scrooge. I wanted him to be really intelligent, witty but not silly, because that's how I can keep the respect of the audience.

"I mean, I couldn't be silly because otherwise you lose your respect for me," he continued. "Because you still have to be afraid of me – your movie is only as good as your villain so if I'm bumbling or idiotic there's no more tension.

"So yeah, it was a fine line that I had to keep the audience constantly respecting me. I had to make sure I always had their respect and never got silly or ridiculous because then it's over."

Leguizamo added that it was "a little daunting to be the guy who's gonna kill Santa Claus" but praised director Tommy Wirkola for giving the cast space to improvise and play around with their characters.

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"I love filmmakers like Tommy Wirkola who give you freedom," he explained. "He gave me freedom to improvise and ad lib. Everybody did, David Harbour did, everybody in the family did. And we would laugh, it was such a great time with everybody ad libbing and you'd try not to laugh off camera.

"And sometimes you break each other up when we were on camera and have to redo it and Tommy Wirkola sometimes would start laughing and ruin a take. It was a lot of fun to do – I really enjoyed this flick!"

Read more: Violent Night director on why David Harbour was perfect for Santa

Violent Night is released in UK cinemas on Friday 2nd December 2022. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide, or visit our dedicated Film hub for all the latest news.

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