Nearly two dozen people told the Times that Willis exhibited decline that required body doubles and abbreviated lines
Bruce Willis, who is retiring from acting due to cognitive difficulties brought on by aphasia, struggled with its symptoms during production, media reports say.
Sources said the 67-year-old actor was exhibiting progressive signs of decline in recent years.
One insider told Page Six that Willis wore “earpieces, hearing things, for them to feed him the lines,” and “it was increasingly difficult to have him on screen.”
“Everybody knew, the cast and crew. His family has stepped in, they moved in to take care of him,” the person said.
Lala Kent, who played Willis’ daughter in the movie ‘Hard Kill’ in 2020, told LA Times he misfired a gun loaded with a blank on the wrong cue twice while filming.
“I’m supposed to think my life is about to end and then my dad steps in to save the day,” Kent told the paper, adding that her back was turned to the actor and he was supposed to utter a line that indicated she was supposed to duck before the shot went off.
No one was injured, but one crew member said he remembered Kent looking shaken that day.
Another crew member said Willis “did fire the gun on the wrong line” but added that “we always made sure no one was in the line of fire when he was handling guns.”
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The film’s armorer denied the incident happened.
Co-workers concerned about the action star’s health also described heartbreaking moments on set, including that Willis even asked crew members where he was while filming White Elephant in 2021.
“I know why you’re here, and I know why you’re here, but why am I here?” two crew members recall him asking out loud.
Additionally, Willis, who would often be paid $2 million for two days of work, had his lines whittled down and filmed his parts within a few days, sources noted.
One director said during the filming of “Out of Death” that he was tasked with compressing 25 pages of dialogue to one day of filming. Other directors described being alarmed by Willis’ mental state.
One director said he approached Willis’ handler to ask about his condition directly. “It was clear that he was not the Bruce I remembered,” Jesse Johnson said.
“They stated that he was happy to be there, but that it would be best if we could finish shooting him by lunch and let him go early,” Johnson said.
The ‘Die Hard’ hero has appeared in 22 movies in the past four years. Most of his action scenes, and especially ones that required choreographed gunfire, were done by a body double, the Times reports.
Willis’ family members yesterday announced his retirement due to an ongoing battle with aphasia, a disorder that affects the brain’s language centers and makes it difficult to communicate.
A statement from his family on Instagram read: “This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him.”
The letter was signed by Willis’s wife Emma, ex-wife Demi Moore and his children Rumer, 33, Scout, 30, Tallulah, 28, Mabel, 9, and Evelyn, 7.