We now know why people don’t want to work with Bruce Willis
From The Fifth Element to The Sixth Sense, actor Bruce Willis continues to deliver memorable performances after an impressive 40 years in show business. Yet while the 65-year-old star remains popular with fans, he has also developed quite the negative reputation among his Hollywood collaborators. Apparently he’s argumentative. He’s uncooperative. He’s demanding. And as director Antoine Fuqua told the BBC, he’s an all-around “pain in my ass.”
“We just didn’t get along,” Fuqua said in 2014. He and Willis worked together on 2003’s Tears of the Sun. “We got along off camera, but shooting [Tears Of The Sun] we just didn’t get along. Some men don’t gel when it comes to work — you have different work ethics, different opinions, different points of views, different methods of filmmaking— and we didn’t gel. Off camera we were friends — Bruce is great — but we just don’t get along when it comes to work, and that’s pretty much it.”
But Fuqua wasn’t the first — or the last — person in the industry to find Demi Moore’s former husband less than agreeable. In fact, some of Hollywood’s most legendary creators have publicly shared their strained experiences with Willis on set, painting an unflattering image of an actor with whom few wish to work.
Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd clashed on the set of 'Moonlighting'
While Die Hard launched Bruce Willis’ film career, Moonlighting gave the future movie star his big break. Yet while the ABC drama dominated the ratings from 1985 to 1989, Willis and co-star Cybill Shepherd’s on-screen chemistry sparked behind-the-scenes fights that made filming somewhat uncomfortable.
“It’s hard to do a show and keep your relationships with everybody. I remember at one point in the show, it had gotten to where we just hated each other,” Shepherd told Entertainment Weekly in 2005. “It was a very volatile show anyway, but that’s also what made it great.”
Producer Jay Daniel added that he’d often be the “referee” who would keep the bickering stars on task. “Everybody knows there was friction between the two of them on the stage,” he said in an interview with Moonlighting Strangers. “In the beginning, Bruce was just a guy’s guy. Let’s just say he evolved. Over the years, he went from being the crew’s best friend and just being grateful for the work and all of that to realizing that he was going to be a movie star and wanting to move on. Part of that was because of his strained relationship with Cybill. That sometimes made the set a very unpleasant place to be.”
While the final product remains something both leads are proud of today, Willis revealed an air that made him increasingly difficult to work with as his success continued to grow.
Kevin Smith said working with Bruce Willis on 'Cop Out' was 'soul-crushing'
Before filmmaker Kevin Smith met Bruce Willis, the Jay and Silent Bob creator regarded the actor as his hero. When Smith acted alongside Willis in 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard, mutual admiration developed and the two vowed to work together again. However, when Smith signed on to direct Willis and comedian Tracy Morgan in 2010’s Cop Out, all illusions flew out the window because, had it not been for Morgan, Smith suggests he “might’ve killed myself or someone else in the making of that movie” (per the Daily Mail).
“It was difficult,” Smith explained on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. “I’ve never been involved in a situation like that where, one component is not in the box at all. It was f**kin’ soul-crushing. I mean, a lot of people are gonna be like, ‘Oh, you’re just trying to blame the movie on him.’ No, but I had no f**king help from this dude whatsoever.”
“Where was the happy-go-lucky charmer who made Maddie Hayes fall so madly in love?” Smith added in his book, Tough Sh*t (per Flavorwire). “There were no staff limbo parties like there’d been at the Blue Moon Detective Agency whenever Bruce was around… He turned out to be the unhappiest, most bitter, and meanest emo-b***h I’ve ever met at any job I’ve held down. And mind you, I’ve worked at Domino’s Pizza.” What an awful experience!
Sylvester Stallone branded Bruce Willis 'greedy and lazy' after a paycheck dispute
When assembling his team for The Expendables 3, actor Sylvester Stallone asked Bruce Willis to return to the franchise. However, a source told The Hollywood Reporter in 2013 that the two legends had a falling-out because Stallone wouldn’t meet Willis’ money demands. While Willis was offered $3 million for four consecutive days of work on location in Bulgaria, the Sin City star refused to commit. “He said he’d drop out unless he got $4 million,” the source claimed. “A million dollars a day. Stallone and everybody else involved said no.”
Stallone shocked fans when he tweeted, “WILLIS OUT . . . HARRISON FORD IN!!!! GREAT NEWS!!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!” Stallone later added Willis’ demands were “GREEDY AND LAZY . . . A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE.” Willis, on the other hand, brushed it off when he told Express that “explosions are one of the most boring parts of my job,” and he likes “to earn lots of money” no matter the project.
However, a year later, Stallone announced the end of the feud on Twitter. “It sounded like it got personal and I’m sorry it did sound that way,” Stallone told Express. “But it was actors talking and things move on. I think Bruce Willis is a great guy and he does fantastically entertaining films and when he nails it he nails it big time.” Perhaps these action heroes will reunite on-screen again after all.
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