Kevin Smith took to social media today to apologize to Bruce Willis and his family for "petty complaints" he has aired in the time since the two worked together on Cop Out in 2010. In light of Willis's aphasia diagnosis, Smith said he "feels like an asshole" for having made light of his disagreements with the actor over the years. Aphasia is a cognitive condition that can cause loss of communication skills, including memory, speech, writing, and understanding language. Willis's family announced yesterday that he was stepping away from acting following the diagnosis. Willis is not the first big name to step away following an aphasia diagnosis in recent years; in 2017, Monty Python's Terry Jones did the same.
In the years since Cop Out, Smith's personality clashes with Bruce Willis had become a staple of Smith's speaking engagements, in which he would do Q&As and delivery stories in a way that felt like a stand-up comedy set. The pair had reportedly reconciled -- by mistake -- when Willis texted Smith out of the blue, apparently when trying to reach someone else with a similar name.
"Long before any of the Cop Out stuff, I was a big Bruce Willis fan – so this is really heartbreaking to read," Smith wrote on Twitter. "He loved to act and sing and the loss of that has to be devastating for him. I feel like an asshole for my petty complaints from 2010. So sorry to [Bruce Willis] and his family."
Smith may have regrets now, but he wasn't alone in his criticisms of Willis. As early as 1992, the book The Devil's Candy painted Willis in a pretty unfavorable light while documenting the production of The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Moonlighting -- the role that made him famous -- ended in part because Willis and his co-star Cybill Shepherd struggled to get along.
Willis's work ethic had come under fire in recent years, as he started taking big money to make glorified cameos in low-budget movies. Earlier this month, the Golden Raspberry Awards created a special category designed to poke fun at Willis for his eight critically-panned movies released in 2021. Unlike Smith, the Razzies have not backed down, expressing sympathy for Willis but standing by the award.
In hindsight, it seems likely these "two days of work" kind of gigs may have allowed Willis to extend his time in show business by allowing him to do jobs that required fewer lines and less memorization.0comments