Set Visit: Red Interview with Bruce Willis
When you hear that you're going to be interviewing Bruce Willis you immediately began to get terrified. This is for two reasons: 1. You have no idea what this is going to be like and 2. It's Bruce Willis. You're excited and intimidated as hell! He's everything you expect him to be. You remember when he played Jimmy the Tulip in THE WHOLE NINE YARDS? That's Willis to a T. Well, expect the murderer part.
While interviewing Mr. Willis for RED, all I could do was be in awe (this is John f*cking McClane!). He's a hilarious guy who only had so long to talk. The unit publicist managed to wrangle him for a quick interview before he went back to film a scene. When he walks over to the table accompanied by producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, he carries a bag of Smarties. He throws them on the table and says ďI have no idea what to say except for give me one of these.Ē Let's begin and add another character to the list of badasses that Willis has played.
Can you talk about how you got involved in the project?
No, canít talk about that. I can only stay for a couple of minutes so Iím going to tell you thisóLorenzo [di Bonaventura] can tell you how I got involved in it, but I really want a Smartie. Itís a one of a kind thing. Itís hard to describe. Itís impossible to describe. Where are you guys from?LA.
Itíd be like youíre driving down the 405 freeway 80 miles per hour crazy trying to get home from work and all of a sudden you see three giraffes standing on the side of the 405. Or how many? Itíd be 11 or 12 right? (Asking Mr. di Bonaventura) And you go, ďI canít believe that Iím seeing 12 giraffes on the side of the 405. This is a highly unusual sight to see.Ē Iíve never been in a film with so many movie stars. Iíve never been in a film with all of these people in it that are all like the Yankees. They are the Yankees. Everybody came in like Ted Williams Mickey Mantle, Derek, Babe Ruthóeverybody steps up. Helen Mirren bang. Sheís got a home run. Everybody that came in for a day or for a week or three days or two weeks everybody hit it out of the park. I f*cked up a lot of these things so fortunately they have something else to cut to. Especially in a movie where youíre not expecting Helen to fire a 50 caliber weapon.
I canít even imagine that scene. I wasnít there when they shot that. Iím going to the movie just to see that. Richard Dreyfussóthat ball is outta here. Grand slam home run taped up.Are you glad thereís a more comedic side to your character instead of being more serious?
My character isnít so comedy driven. He has a lot of issues. He has problems. He never really had a girlfriend because he was afraid that someone would kill his girlfriend so now itís the first time in years that heís going with the girlfriend concept. So thatís interesting. Itís somewhat comedic. I just kind of get the ball in and everybody hits it as hard as it comes and out it goes. Mary Louise Parkeróhysterical. Sheís really funny in this. Comedy, yes. Romance, yes. Blood, actionóno blood, action yes. I actually get shot in the arm and a little tiny bit of blood comes out. If you get shot in the arm in real life, youíre arm comes off. It gets blown off.
Karl Urban was talking about the fight scene you two have and how intense that was.
The fight scene I think is more than what anybody expected. I was watching a fight scene on the hotel TV from about 10 years agoóthis is way better than that.Itís a close contact fight right?
Yeah, a lot of choking. Itís the most mixed martial arts stuff that Iíve ever seen in a film.Was it physically training for this role?
Briefly and then I was allowed to eat, but I stopped for awhile. You get cranky when you donít eat. No carbs, no sugarótry it for one day. Hence no Smarties, no sugar. (He throws down the Smarties he was eating on the table.)Since this is a PG-13 film, was there any competition for who gets to drop the F bomb?
Yeah, itís a pick em right now and two really good other f*cks besides mine and mine is the third one so yeah, itís a contest. Weíre going to try to get Summit to give us a second f*ck. Is that sick where we live in a world where my kids can go online and look at hardcore porn with no rating, no nothing, no breaks, but you canít go to the movies and hear people say fuck more than one time. You can show people actually having sex with animals, but you canít say f*ck.. You canít tell people what theyíre doing.I think it should go to Helen.
Iím on my way to hell right now so itís over for me. I can cuss all day long. Did you see Cop Out? Motherfucker, fuck, fuck. Fuck! Please you canít print any of this. I just came over to talk to you guys. These are rolling are they? (Referring to our tape recorders.) Fucking shit. Fuck. Shit. Shit. Fuck. (Looks at me, smiles) No blushing.
Iím enjoying it.
Now we can start the interview.Youíve filmed in New Orleans and Toronto. Whatís the best and worst part of both cities?
Willis: It was the coldest of times. It was the hottest of times. There was no in between. There was no nice balmy tropical weather. There really hasnít been. Itís just blistering cold and ungodly hammers of hell hot. di Bonaventura: The best thing you get to do is go out to dinner and both cities had some great restaurants so in a weird way thatís all we measure the cities by is can we go out and have a good meal easily?Well except for the fact that Bruce canít eat?
di Bonaventura: Well he can look at it. Willis: Itís like the teamster children. di Bonaventura: Tell them the set up. Willis: itís a good set up. Iíll tell you the punch line after the movie comes out, but itís hard to talk about the film. I was in such awe of everyone. I was so excited.Can you talk about your characters relationship with Mary Louise Parkerís in the film and what your take on it is?
Thatís his girlfriend. Heís trying to keep her alive and himself alive. I canít tell you what happens because we havenít shot the end yet. Well we kinda have but did you see The Greatest Story Ever Told? It was on last night for Easter. Do you know the story? A guy from that movie is in our movie. Look it up. Thatís your quiz for the day.
You and John Malkovich and quite a back story in the filmÖ
It changed a little bit. Thereís a lot of chemistry on a lot of levels. I had chemistry and everybody else intermingle chemistry. Itís a highly chemical kind of movie. John and I got along great. It was great writing. Everybody had there scenes written really well. Mary Louise Parker spins gold out of one or two words out of a sentence and can make it into a great joke so itís easy to act when---youíve seen me in a film when itís just been me by myself with a bunch of model robots that are a little but in the future. That was no fun. Working with other actors who can hit the ball right back to you and throw the back right back to you hot and give you something else you go, ďI have to actually act now and think of something funny to say or do now.Ē So I had chemistry and everybody had intermingling chemistry. di Bonaventura: Thatís interesting because it started that Marvin (Malkovich) and Frank (Willis) were colder to each other than whatís happened in making the movie. As Marvin says to you, ďWhy are you here to kill me?Ē and his answer back is Willis: ďThe last time we spoke you were trying to kill me.Ē But we filled in some of the blanks just around the story. di Bonaventura: The last time Marvin and Frank saw each other, Marvin tried to kill Frank because he thought Frank was trying to kill him. So thatís an interesting set up for a relationship. Itís interesting because when you read it on paper, it reads one way. Then you suddenly see the two of them there and it becomes more emotional. You see there was loss there and the fact that they havenít talked for awhile.
Willis: Did anybody read the script before we started shooting?Just the graphic novel.
We did. You canít imagine who itís going to be and to be sitting here talking about it now seeing all these people come in like James Remar. People showed up for a couple of days. Rebecca Pigeon. Julian McMann. Grand slam home run because that was what some actors would look at and say that was a throw away part and everybody came in and supped up their work. I think at least 50 % of them knew what they were walking into and then when they got on the set they were actually working with six or seven other great actors at the same time.What was the rehearsal process like?
Willis: Very little rehearsal. Everybody came in really prepared and ultra pros. The hardest thing was to get people to stop acting. di Bonaventura: You guys were all about discovery too. Willis: Yeah, because you would find something on take three that you didnít do on the first take or that wasnít on the page and youíd go off in that tangent. Some of that is going to stay. di Bonaventura: Itís evolved a lot. Itís one of the reasons when you ask about the relationship, we had one idea in our head and now the movie has convinced us we have a different one. Thereís probably a third one to appear. Willis: So who knows what itís going to be. I think itís going to be great. Itís going to be interesting to watch. Helen Mirren with a 50 caliber wearing a cocktail dress.
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