To the surprise of nearly everyone, Bruce Willis retired from acting due to being diagnosed with aphasia, which is a degenerative brain disorder. He and his wife released the following statement via Instagram, “We wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. As a result of this and with much consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”
This news rocked the film industry as fans and colleagues had no idea that the actor was going through health issues. Kevin Smith – who directed Willis on Cop Out– even apologized for his past comments following his experience with the actor in the feature film, “Long before any of the Cop Out stuff, I was a big Bruce Willis fan – so this is really heartbreaking to read,” Smith tweeted on March 30. “He loved to act and sing and the loss of that has to be devastating for him,” he continued, stating: “I feel like an a**hole for my petty complaints.” Though the public was certainly surprised by the news, it appears that insiders had an idea that Willis wasn’t in good condition throughout the last couple of years.
While the news came across as a big shock for anyone paying attention to Willis’s career, it became noticeable that something wasn’t right with him in his final acting years. Willis gained notoriety as a performer in the series Moonlighting, which helped showcase the comedic side that won him an Emmy for Outstanding Lead in a Drama Series and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy. However, Willis’ fame skyrocketed in one of the most iconic action films ever made, Die Hard, and that film turned him into an A-list celebrity. While Willis surely had some clunkers since his meteoritic rise, the actor has starred in unforgettable films such as The Sixth Sense, Pulp Fiction, Moonrise Kingdom, Unbreakable, Looper, 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, Sin City, and Armageddon. However, it became noticeable around 2015 that Willis was starring in terrible direct-to-DVD films. As the years passed, more horrible direct-to-DVD films were being released starring the famed actor, and fans and critics were baffled over how far the actor’s star had fallen.
Within four years, Willis had done 22 low-budget films, with the pay equaling up to $2 million for only two days of work, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. It wasn’t just the fact that the actor was doing low-budget features, but it was clear that Willis wasn’t the same actor who played John McClaine in 1988. There were photos from his film, American Siege, that showcased an earpiece that instructed the actor on his lines. It was reported by numerous filmmakers to the Los Angeles Times that Willis often struggled with onset, barely remembering his lines, sometimes unaware of his surroundings, and he even fired a gun on the wrong cue at one point.
It was only a manner time before the actor retired for good. Willis has settled into family life following the announcement; however, another rumor has circulated, and this is due to producer Randall Emmett. Allegations started another Los Angeles Times piece that accused the 51-year-old of multiple issues such as defrauding investors, offering roles for sexual favors, and exploiting Willis to these low-budget features, despite his deteriorating health. One example that’s given was a stunt in Midnight in the Switchgrass, which saw Emmett directing the 2021 feature; Willis couldn’t kick down a door, even with the assistance of a stunt coordinator, which Emmett wasn’t thrilled with, “You would have to be blind to not see him struggling,” Alicia Haverland told the newspaper.
Well, Willis has addressed the claims that the director forced him to work consistently. Martin Singer, an attorney for Bruce, responded with a statement and made it clear that the actor worked because he wanted to, “My client continued working after his medical diagnosis because he wanted to work and was able to do so. Just like many others diagnosed with aphasia who are capable of continuing to work. Because Mr. Willis appeared in those, they could get financed. That resulted in literally thousands of people having jobs, many during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
While this doesn’t let Emmett off the hook for the claims about offering roles for sexual favors and investor fraud, it does seem to free him from the allegations of mistreating one of the biggest actors of the generation. The investigations into the claims that his ex-fiancée Lala Kent continues through Emmett’s career in Hollywood doesn’t look too good at the moment.