Bruce Willis ‘misfired guns on two movie sets in 2020 and asked crew what he was doing on the production lot’, say insiders: Directors were forced to reduce his roles due to ‘heartbreaking’ battle with aphasia
Actor Bruce Willis has shown signs of cognitive decline for the past couple years, once firing a gun loaded with a blank on the wrong cue and wondering aloud what he was doing on a set, according to people who have worked with him recently.
Willis, 67, is retiring from acting after he was diagnosed with aphasia, a brain condition that affects his ability to understand language, his family said in an Instagram post Wednesday.
Those who have worked with him in recent years are now saying that his health has been deteriorating for a while.
Lala Kent, the star of Vanderpump Rules who played Willis’ daughter on the set of Hard Kill, recalls that the action hero unexpectedly fired a gun on the wrong cue during filming in 2020.
‘I’m supposed to think my life is about to end, and then my dad steps in to save the day,’ she told the Los Angeles Times.
The actor also wondered what he was doing on the set of the upcoming low-budget film White Elephant last April.
‘I know why you’re here, and I know why you’re here, but why am I here?’ two crew members recall him asking.
The director of that movie, Jesse V. Johnson, says Willis’ team told him that ‘it would be best if we could finish shooting him by lunch and let him go early.’
The director of the 2021 film Out of Death told the movie’s screenwriter to keep his lines ‘short and sweet,’ offering little explanation for the sudden re-write.
‘It looks like we need to knock down Bruce’s page count by about 5 pages,’ director Mike Burns said in a June 2020 email to the screenwriter. ‘We also need to abbreviate his dialogue a bit so that there are no monologues, etc.’
Sources say acclaimed actor Bruce Willis, 67, has been having trouble on the sets of his recent movies, and was even pictured wearing an earpiece to feed him lines on the set of American Siege in 2020
On Wednesday, Willis’ family shared this photo of the 67-year-old actor to announce he has been diagnosed with a brain condition called aphasia, which affects one’s ability to comprehend both verbal and written language
He was also seen apparently needing assistance on the set of his film Paradise City last May
An unnamed source told Page Six his declining cognitive ability had been an open secret in Hollywood as the actor repeatedly had trouble acting in his films.
‘Everybody knew, the cast and crew,’ the unnamed source said, adding that Willis was ‘using earpieces, hearing things, for them to feed him the lines,’ and it ‘was increasingly difficult to have him on screen.’
He said that films actually had to be made closer to where Willis resided with his family – who, the source said, has been taking care of the 67-year-old actor – to make productions easier.
And in at least one production, the source said, producers began using a body double to increase Willis’ screen time, while in another his screen time was ‘whittled down,’ with the actor shooting on set for only three days.
The source said: ‘It was becoming super obvious he was having trouble … he could not act anymore.’
The famed actor can even be seen in a scene in his new movie American Siege, which was filmed in 2020, wearing an earpiece. This was a full two years before the family’s announcement that Willis has aphasia.
Willis had previously been seen using an earpiece to feed him lines in his Broadway debut in Misery in 2015, an an unnamed insider also told OK! Magazine
He was also reportedly struggling during the filming of M. Night Shyamalan’s 2019 film Glass.
His family shared a statement on their social media pages announcing his diagnosis on Wednesday and saying he will be be ‘stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him’
‘While filming Glass, staffers worked around him by cutting and editing and having him overdub lines because he struggled to remember and/or deliver them,’ they told the publication, according to the New Zealand Herald.
‘In most scenes on Glass he’s hooded, and they used stand-in and body doubles to replace him. On set, he wouldn’t smile and was always chaperoned by an assistant to guide him while walking.’
The source also said at the time that Willis had sold his New York property to spend more time with his wife and children in Los Angeles, and said that his wife, as well as ex-wife Demi Moore, were working together to take care of the famed actor.
‘His wife Emma has helped Demi Moore and the children Bruce shares with his ex-wife to make truces because they know he’s fading,’ the unnamed source told the magazine in January 2021.
‘Between Demi and Emma, the family has always ensured Bruce has the support and care he might need at any given time,’ the insider said.
They added, ‘The good news is that although there is the real concern of dementia fears, it largely has not impacted his ability to work in Hollywood – and in true super hero form – he won’t slow down because new technology like earpieces allows actors of his caliber not to skip a beat.’
But in recent years, the New Zealand Herald reports, die hard fans of the actor have noticed he was taking more roles in straight-to-video releases.
This year, Page Six reports, Willis was given his own category at the Razzies – a parody award show honoring the worst of cinematic under-achievements – for the ‘worst movies of 2021’ after he starred in eight critically-panned films.
One of his films, Out of Death, earned a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The parody awards show apologized to the actor following the announcement of his diagnosis on Wednesday, tweeting: ‘The Razzies are truly sorry for #BruceWillis’ diagnosed condition.
‘Perhaps this explains why he wanted to go out with a bang in 2021. Our best wishes to Bruce and family.’
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