Director Says There Were Signs Bruce Willis Was Declining For Years Before Recent Reveal

A director who has worked with Bruce Willis recently is speaking out about witnessing the actor’s cognitive decline. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mike Burns revealed that he had to shorten Bruce’s dialogue by five pages on one film, a task that felt Herculean at the time.

More than two dozen people spoke with the newspaper about Bruce, sharing stories from film sets that range from mildly troubling to very concerning.

 

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Mike told the newspaper that he was aware of Bruce’s condition but didn’t know the extent of it. He was asked to work with Bruce for a second time and agreed only because he believed the actor had improved. “After the first day of working with Bruce I could see it firsthand,” Mike described, “and I realized that there was a bigger issue at stake here and why I had been asked to shorten his lines.”

 

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He was also asked to take all of the dialogue Bruce would be required to speak, roughly 25 pages, and to work it into one full day of shooting. When it was time to film a second film, he explains that things weren’t great. “I didn’t think he was better,” Mike said. “I thought he was worse.”

 

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He applauded the actor’s decision to step back from his career. “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.”

 

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The Times also notes that accomodations were built into the contracts Bruce signed for recent work. For example, his contracts stipulated that he could work only eight hours a day, and the star often left sets after working four.

 

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In recent years, some fans have questioned the movies Bruce Willis has chosen to shoot, believing that they are beneath an actor of his stature. Jesse V. Johnson, who directed one of these low-budget movies, also told the newspaper that he found Bruce’s condition troubling.

 

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He asked the team working with Bruce how he was doing, and they replied “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.”

 

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Someone else who worked on set offered further details, saying, “It was less of an annoyance and more like: ‘How do we not make Bruce look bad?’ Someone would give him a line and he didn’t understand what it meant. He was just being puppeted.”

 

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Actress Lala Kent, who played Bruce’s daughter in Hard Kill, also revealed to the paper that Bruce fired a gun containing a blank at the wrong time on set, which could have resulted in injury. As she described the situation, Bruce was meant to deliver a line that would cue her to duck before he fired the gun. He forgot the line, but fired the gun anyway.

 

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Production supervisor Terri Martin, who worked on the set of White Elephant, maintains that despite it all, Bruce kept a positive spirit. “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.”

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