'the arrangement felt wrong'
Filmmakers who worked with Bruce Willis were reportedly concerned about his health for years before his aphasia diagnosis was announced.
The Die Hard star's family on Wednesday announced he will step back from acting after being "diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities." A new report in The Los Angeles Times says filmmakers have been privately concerned about his health, as he "has been exhibiting signs of decline in recent years," and those who worked with him were unsure if he "was fully aware of his surroundings on set."
The report describes how Willis' recent film shoots had to be limited to two days, his dialogue scenes needed to be trimmed, and he had to have his lines fed to him in an earpiece. "Someone would give him a line and he didn't understand what it meant," a crew member told the Times.
Director Mike Burns recalled swearing off working with Willis again after he seemed to be doing "worse," while director Jesse V. Johnson said that when he met with the actor, "it was clear that he was not the Bruce I remembered." Production supervisor Terri Martin also said "he just looked so lost" on set. Willis would reportedly sometimes question where he was, and in one instance, he allegedly fired a gun, which was loaded with a blank, on the wrong cue.
"We are all Bruce Willis fans, and the arrangement felt wrong and ultimately a rather sad end to an incredible career, one that none of us felt comfortable with," Johnson told the Times.
Willis' fans had previously wondered why he was appearing in as many as seven direct-to-video movies a year. In light of the health revelations, though, the Razzies are facing calls to rescind an award introduced in 2021 for "Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in a 2021 Movie." The parody award show's co-founder told IndieWire "we are still discussing how to handle the news about Willis' diagnosis."