Just days before Bruce Willis was slated to appear on the set of one of his most recent action pictures, the project’s director sent an urgent request: reduce the movie star’s role.
Mike Burns, the director of “Out of Death,” wrote to the film’s screenwriter in June 2020, “It appears like we need to reduce down Bruce’s page count by roughly 5 pages.” “We should also shorten his discourse so that there aren’t any monologues, etc.”
One of the reasons Willis’ sentences needed to be kept “short and sweet” was not explained by Burns. However, the public discovered on Wednesday what he and many other filmmakers had been secretly worried about for years: Because of his aphasia, the 67-year-family old’s has announced that he will retire from performing. The cognitive disorder has an impact on a person’s capacity to speak and is common in people who have had strokes.
“As a consequence of this, and after much thought, Bruce is stepping away from the business that has meant so much to him,” Rumer Willis said in an Instagram post that was also signed by her siblings, the actor’s wife, Emma, and his previous wife, Demi Moore.
Those who have worked with the elder Willis on his latest projects say he has been showing indications of deterioration in recent years. Nearly two dozen people on set with Willis voiced concern about his well-being in interviews with The New York Times earlier this month.
According to records obtained by The New York Times, these individuals questioned if the actor was completely aware of his surroundings on set, where he was frequently paid $2 million for two days of work. Filmmakers revealed heartbreaking situations in which the beloved “Pulp Fiction” star struggled with mental acuity loss and an inability to remember his lines. According to many accounts, an actor who went with Willis would feed the star his lines using an earpiece known in the business as a “earwig.” The majority of the action scenes, especially those involving synchronized shooting, were shot with a body double in place of Willis.
According to two persons acquainted with the event who were not allowed to talk, Willis accidentally shot a revolver loaded with a blank on the wrong cue on a Cincinnati set of the movie “Hard Kill” two years ago. There were no injuries. The occurrence was denied by the film’s producer, but the reported discharge left performers and staff members terrified.
Burns was one of a few individuals who knew Willis was having memory problems, but he claimed he didn’t realize how serious the actor’s condition was until June 2020, when he was directing his debut picture, “Out of Death.” It was one of 22 films Willis made over the course of four years.
“I could see it personally after the first day of working with Bruce, and I recognized there was a greater problem at play here, and why I had been requested to reduce his lines,” Burns explained. Burns was entrusted with fitting all of Willis’ sequences — around 25 pages of speech — into one day of filming for the picture, which he described as “very challenging.” Burns was divided at the conclusion of the day.