Yesterday, Deadline scoop bot Mike Fleming reported that Bruce Willis was dropping out of a (still-untitled) Woody Allen film that’s currently shooting in Beverly Hills, supposedly leaving due to a scheduling conflict with Willis’ role in a Broadway adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery. Actors and production companies make these kinds of announcements all the time, and you never know how truthful they’re being, because it’s generally in both their best interests to say it was a logistical issue and not a personal beef.
It’s hard to ever know, but shortly after the Deadline story went up, The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider called BS, saying Willis was fired, along with a fairly logical-sounding explanation.
Sneider pointed out that Willis was on set filming the Woody Allen film (which also starts Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, and Corey Stoll), in full costume, yesterday, the same day he supposedly left for scheduling issues. Vulture even linked some on set pics, of Bruce (wearing some sweet Nikes with his period gangster suit). Long story short, actors tend to notice scheduling issues before shooting starts, making their cover story to Fleming fairly dubious.
Meanwhile, some Twitter randos backed up the firing story:
Bruce Willis, it should be noted, has a bit of a reputation for being difficult, which Kevin Smith (who worked with Willis on Cop Out) talked about at length in a Marc Maron interview a few years back. Then there was Sly Stallone sub-tweeting Willis about being lazy and greedy in his demands over Expendables 3. And then there was the time Willis shut down some British doofus on the press tour for Red 2.
Bottom line, it’s not especially hard to believe that Bruce Willis was being enough of pain in the ass to get fired (or that he just couldn’t stomach another turgid discussion about categorical imperatives). He was John McClane and Corben Dallas, so most directors will put up with a lot, but Woody Allen usually only has about six hours to finish shooting each of his films before he starts work on the next one (he’s made at least one film a year since the ’60s, which is incredible), so there’s less room for distractions.
For me the big question is whether Bruce Willis’ character was supposed to be pursued by Kristen Stewart or Blake Lively, and what Emma Stone did to fall out of Woody Allen’s favor. Bruce’s character was probably real depressed about something, and then Kristen Stewart wanted to bone, and he was against it at first, but after a few beautiful picnics in a sun-drenched park, he gave in.