Two directors who worked with Bruce Willis have revealed they were concerned about his cognitive state before his aphasia diagnosis was made public on Wednesday.
The Die Hard actor’s family announced on Wednesday that the 67-year-old was retiring from acting as he had aphasia, a condition that affects a person’s ability to communicate.
In a lengthy report by the Los Angeles Times published later that day, two filmmakers recalled how they became concerned about Willis as he struggled with his memory on set.
Mike Burns, who directed Willis in 2021’s Out of Death, claimed that he was asked to significantly cut down the actor’s dialogue.
“After the first day of working with Bruce, I could see it firsthand and I realised that there was a bigger issue at stake here and why I had been asked to shorten his lines,” Burns told the publication, claiming he was asked to film all of Willis’ dialogue in one day.
When Burns was asked to direct The Wrong Place, an upcoming movie starring Willis, he was allegedly assured the actor was doing better, but he found that wasn’t the case.
“I didn’t think he was better; I thought he was worse,” he said of the October shoot. “After we finished, I said: ‘I’m done. I’m not going to do any other Bruce Willis movies.’ I am relieved that he is taking time off.”
Meanwhile, Jesse V. Johnson, who directed the action man in the upcoming White Elephant, claimed he turned down the opportunity to do another two movies with Willis after his experience last April.
“It was decided as a team that we would not do another,” Johnson shared. “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.”
Speaking of working with the Pulp Fiction star, Terri Martin, the production supervisor on White Elephant, said, “He just looked so lost, and he would say, ‘I’ll do my best.’ He always tried his best. He is one of the all-time greats, and I have the utmost admiration and respect for his body of work, but it was time for him to retire.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that the actor’s recent film shoots were limited to two days and he often only worked four hours instead of his contracted eight. They also allege that he was fed his lines via an earpiece and a body double was used for him in most action scenes.
In addition, reality star and actress Lala Kent claimed that Willis fired a gun loaded with a blank on the wrong cue on the 2020 set of Hard Kill. He was allegedly supposed to say a line before firing but he forgot to say it on both the first and second take. Nobody was injured and two people have disputed the incident.
Willis and his representatives declined to comment on the report.
– Cover Media