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 I have no idea what to say except for give me one of these. 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, cant talk about that. I can only stay for a couple of minutes so Im going to tell you thisLorenzo [di Bonaventura] can tell you how I got involved in it, but I really want a Smartie. Its a one of a kind thing. Its hard to describe. Its impossible to describe. Where are you guys from?LA.
Itd be like youre 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? Itd be 11 or 12 right? (Asking Mr. di Bonaventura) And you go, I cant believe that Im seeing 12 giraffes on the side of the 405. This is a highly unusual sight to see. Ive never been in a film with so many movie stars. Ive 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 Rutheverybody steps up. Helen Mirren bang. Shes 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 youre not expecting Helen to fire a 50 caliber weapon.
I cant even imagine that scene. I wasnt there when they shot that. Im going to the movie just to see that. Richard Dreyfussthat ball is outta here. Grand slam home run taped up.Are you glad theres a more comedic side to your character instead of being more serious?
My character isnt 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 its the first time in years that hes going with the girlfriend concept. So thats interesting. Its 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 Parkerhysterical. Shes really funny in this. Comedy, yes. Romance, yes. Blood, actionno 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, youre 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 agothis is way better than that.Its a close contact fight right?
Yeah, a lot of choking. Its the most mixed martial arts stuff that Ive 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 dont eat. No carbs, no sugartry 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, its a pick em right now and two really good other f*cks besides mine and mine is the third one so yeah, its a contest. Were 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 cant go to the movies and hear people say fuck more than one time. You can show people actually having sex with animals, but you cant say f*ck.. You cant tell people what theyre doing.I think it should go to Helen.
Im on my way to hell right now so its over for me. I can cuss all day long. Did you see Cop Out? Motherfucker, fuck, fuck. Fuck! Please you cant 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.
Im enjoying it.
Now we can start the interview.Youve filmed in New Orleans and Toronto. Whats 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 hasnt been. Its 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 thats all we measure the cities by is can we go out and have a good meal easily?Well except for the fact that Bruce cant eat?
di Bonaventura: Well he can look at it. Willis: Its like the teamster children. di Bonaventura: Tell them the set up. Willis: its a good set up. Ill tell you the punch line after the movie comes out, but its 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 Parkers in the film and what your take on it is?
Thats his girlfriend. Hes trying to keep her alive and himself alive. I cant tell you what happens because we havent 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. Thats your quiz for the day.
You and John Malkovich and quite a back story in the film
It changed a little bit. Theres a lot of chemistry on a lot of levels. I had chemistry and everybody else intermingle chemistry. Its 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 its easy to act when---youve seen me in a film when its 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, I have to actually act now and think of something funny to say or do now. So I had chemistry and everybody had intermingling chemistry. di Bonaventura: Thats interesting because it started that Marvin (Malkovich) and Frank (Willis) were colder to each other than whats happened in making the movie. As Marvin says to you, Why are you here to kill me? and his answer back is Willis: The last time we spoke you were trying to kill me. 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 thats an interesting set up for a relationship. Its 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 havent talked for awhile.
Willis: Did anybody read the script before we started shooting?Just the graphic novel.
We did. You cant imagine who its 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 didnt do on the first take or that wasnt on the page and youd go off in that tangent. Some of that is going to stay. di Bonaventura: Its evolved a lot. Its 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. Theres probably a third one to appear. Willis: So who knows what its going to be. I think its going to be great. Its going to be interesting to watch. Helen Mirren with a 50 caliber wearing a cocktail dress.
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