Bruce Willis Has Struggled On Set For Years, Co-workers Say

The star, who retired from acting due to aphasia, showed signs of impairment in multiple movies, according to a report.

Actor Bruce Willis showed signs of decline on movie sets long before his family’s announcement Wednesday that he was retiring due to the cognitive disorder aphasia, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The “Die Hard” star forgot his dialogue to the point he needed to have his lines fed to him through an earpiece, required a body double for gun scenes and appeared oblivious to his surroundings, the newspaper noted after interviewing dozens of filmmakers and co-workers.

On the recently filmed movie “White Elephant,” two crew members said Willis told them: “I know why you’re here, and I know why you’re here, but why am I here?” the Times noted.

Bruce Willis at a Philadelphia Phillies game in 2019.
Bruce Willis at a Philadelphia Phillies game in 2019.
Mitchell Leff via Getty Images

Willis, whose decadeslong fame began on TV’s “Moonlighting” and accelerated through films like “Pulp Fiction” and “The Sixth Sense,” appeared in dozens of films in the last few years, according to IMDb.

Filmmakers found it particularly important that Willis have a fill-in for gun scenes, according to the report. In one disturbing incident on the 2020 set of “Hard Kill,” Willis fired a gun blank on the wrong cue, rattling the cast and crew, according to people with knowledge of the mishap. (A producer denied the allegation.)

Willis’ family issued a statement Wednesday on the actor’s status but did not reveal the possible cause of his aphasia, which can result from a stroke or head injury.

“To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family 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,” the Instagram post read. “As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”

Mike Burns, who directed Willis in “Out of Death” (2021), was unaware of the severity of Willis’ impairment when he was tasked with drastically compressing the star’s dialogue. “After the first day of working with Bruce, I could see it firsthand and I realized that there was a bigger issue at stake here,” he told the Times.

HuffPost did not immediately hear back from a rep for Willis.

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