Actor Bruce Willis showed signs of decline on film sets long before his family announced on Wednesday that he was retiring due to aphasic cognitive impairment, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The ‘Die Hard’ star forgot his dialogue to the point where he needed his lines delivered to him via earpiece, needed a body double for the gun scenes and had seemed oblivious to his surroundings, the newspaper noted after interviewing dozens of filmmakers and co-workers.
In the recently shot “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.
Willis, whose decades-long fame began on TV’s ‘Moonlighting’ and accelerated through movies like ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘The Sixth Sense’, has appeared in dozens of movies over the past few years. , according to IMDb.
According to the report, the filmmakers found it particularly important that Willis had a stand-in for the gun scenes. In a disturbing incident on the set of “Hard Kill” in 2020, Willis fired blanks at the wrong time, shaking up the cast and crew, according to people with knowledge of the incident. (A producer denied the allegation.)
Willis’ family released a statement on the actor’s status on Wednesday but did not disclose the possible cause of his aphasia, which may be the result of a stroke or head injury.
“To the amazing Bruce supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has had health issues and was recently diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” they said in the statement, which accompanied a photo. de Willis in bathrobe and sunglasses. “As a result and with great consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that 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 significantly compressing the star’s dialogue. “After the first day of working with Bruce, I got to see it firsthand and realized there was a bigger issue at play here,” he told The Times.
HuffPost did not immediately hear back from a representative for Willis.