Cheat Sheet: Bruce Willis
Walter Bruce Willis
Date of Birth:
19th March 1955
Place of birth:
Idar-Oberstein, Rheinland-Pfalz, West Germany
Acting, singing, being bald, ruining Alan Rickman’s day
Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Fifth Element, Armageddon, The Sixth Sense
What you probably already know:
For the last twenty-five years Bruce Willis has been one of the most bankable action stars in Hollywood. Since shooting to international prominence with 1988’s Die Hard (the first in a series which has grossed well over a billion dollars to date) his increasingly bald head and propensity for wearing vests in difficult situations have netted him a $150m fortune, a marriage (since ended) to Demi Moore and a general willingness on the part of the American people to ignore the fact that he’s technically a German called Walter – his mum’s a Kraut, his dad was a GI with a nose for local talent. Well played, Brucie!
Willis’ career has undergone a series of peaks and troughs, with a phenomenally successful blockbuster generally cropping up every time his CV seemed damaged beyond repair. Early-90s disasters including The Bonfire of the Vanities and Hudson Hawk (co-written by Willis) contributed to the frittering away of his reputation, but an acclaimed supporting role in Pulp Fiction gave Willis the oomph he needed to star in Twelve Monkeys and The Fifth Element. Then, just when flops like Mercury Rising and Breakfast of Champions were shuntnig him to the edge of the scrapheap, along came Armageddon and The Sixth Sense to boost him back into the stratosphere. And he’s been there ever since, more or less (at least until A Good Day to Die Hard comes out).
What you might not know:
When he’s not busy having daughters (four to date, the youngest just two months old), Bruce Willis appears to spend most of his time wishing he was a real soldier. He’s played a number of military roles in films from The Siege to GI Joe: Retaliation (due out next year, for some reason), and has sold Girl Scout cookies to be sent to US servicemen and women. In 2002, apparently impatient with the limited philanthropy of his neighbours, Willis simply bought twelve thousand boxes of cookies and had them distributed to US soldiers engaged in suppressing anti-American interests across the world. He also considered enlisting, but “friends told him he was too old”. Colossal error, ‘friends’ – can you imagine how quickly the Taliban would have collapsed if they’d seen John McClane heading over a sand dune with the harsh desert sun gleaming off his bonce?
His relatively badass image (let’s ignore the bit where he gave up drinking like a massive fairy) aside, Bruce is also not shy of a little stroll on the information superhighway. Five years ago, news broke that Live Free or Die Hard had been given a PG-13 rating in stark contrast to its three R-rated predecessors. A lively debate on rumour-market Ain’t It Cool News was unexpectedly joined by a contributor using the handle Walter_B, who proceeded to offer various snippets of privileged information and trivia about LFoDH and the other films in the series, a comprehensive analysis of the mythology of Die Hard and various bits of borderline-defamatory comment on actors and film crews. Guess who turned out to be hiding behind the name? Yep, Brucie’s really moving with the times – if you can’t push your enemies out of the Nakatomi Plaza, just slag them off on a message board!
Bruce Willis quote:
“If you catch him, just give me four seconds with Saddam Hussein.” Blimey.
What to say at a dinner party:
“I genuinely wish I could watch him fuck up Saddam Hussein.”
What not to say at a dinner party:
“So, let’s talk about Cop Out…”
So far in 2012: The Cold Light of Day and Lay the Favorite have been shit. Moonrise Kingdom was brilliant. If The Expendables 2 is somehow not awful and Looper is amazing (it’s totally going to be amazing) then Bruce should be heading into 2013 with a smile on his relentlessly tightened face!