Bruce Willis' On-Set Troubles Were Evident for a While

'LA Times' talks to actors and directors who describe his cognitive struggles in recent years
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2022 12:02 PM CDT
Bruce Willis' On-Set Troubles Were Evident for a While
Bruce Willis attends a movie premiere in New York on Oct. 11, 2019.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

The news that Bruce Willis must end his acting career because of a brain disorder known as aphasia likely came as a shock to fans. But a story in the Los Angeles Times suggests the news isn't too much of a surprise to actors and directors who have worked with him in recent years. "After the first day of working with Bruce, I could see it firsthand," Out of Death director Mike Burns tells the newspaper. In June 2020, Burns wrote an email to the film's scriptwriter asking that Willis' dialogue be reduced, by about 20%, just before shooting. The Times talks to about two dozen people in the industry who tell similar tales about the 67-year-old actor: He had to use an "earwig"—another person feeding him lines through an earpiece—and didn't seem aware of his surroundings on set. One disturbing anecdote:

  • "In one alleged incident two years ago on a Cincinnati set of the movie Hard Kill, Willis unexpectedly fired a gun loaded with a blank on the wrong cue, according to two people familiar with the incident who were not authorized to comment," write Meg James and Amy Kaufman. "No one was injured. The film's producer disputed that the incident occurred, but the alleged discharge left actors and crew members shaken."

Meanwhile, daughter Scout Willis has expressed thanks for the volume of support the family has received since the news came out. "The exquisite outpouring of love that I am experiencing right now is just blowing me away," Scout wrote in an Instagram story, per CNN. "Thank you all for showing up with so much tenderness and stunning love for my daddio and my whole family." (Read more Bruce Willis stories.)

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