LA Times: ‘Bruce Willis’s Aphasia Was Suspected by Coworkers for Years’

Meg James and Amy Kaufman, reporting for the LA Times:

According to those who have worked with the elder Willis on his recent films, the actor has been exhibiting signs of decline in recent years. In interviews with The Times this month, nearly two dozen people who were on set with the actor expressed concern about Willis’ well-being. […]

Jesse V. Johnson, who directed the low-budget film “White Elephant,” first worked with Willis decades ago when he was a stuntman. But when the filmmaker and the actor met briefly before shooting began in Georgia last April, “it was clear that he was not the Bruce I remembered,” Johnson said. Concerned about Willis’ mental state, he said he approached the actor’s team — which is led by his assistant-turned-handler Stephen J. Eads — and bluntly asked about the actor’s condition.

“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 recalled of the conversation. Filmmakers proceeded to quickly film the actor’s parts, even as Willis questioned where he was: “I know why you’re here, and I know why you’re here, but why am I here?” two crew members said he asked aloud.

Sad story, but it explains Willis’s seemingly-odd low-budget film choices in recent years. According to The Times, Willis made 22 movies in 4 years.

I’ve been a huge Bruce Willis fan ever since Moonlighting (a show that, to my mind, doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves for ushering in the modern era of “prestige TV”). Willis had the it that all great acting stars do: once you saw him in a role, it was impossible to imagine anyone else playing that part.

Thursday, 31 March 2022