Earlier this week came an announcement from the family of Bruce Willis, confirming that the actor would be retiring from the profession after forty years. Willis' end to his career comes after being diagnosed with apashia, a language disorder caused by brain damage that impacts the ability to communicate. In the time since then, tributes to Willis have been published from across Hollywood and now another touching message from a frequent collaborator has arrived courtesy of M. Night Shyamalan. Having collaborated on The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, the post-credit scene in Split, and Glass, Shyamalan and Willis have worked together quite a bit, leading to the Oscar-nominated writer/director to pay his respects.
"All my love and respect to my big brother Bruce Willis," Shyamalan wrote in a tweet. "I know his wonderful family is surrounding him with support and strength. He will always be that hero on that poster on my wall as kid." Shyamalan and Willis' collaboration on The Sixth Sense in 1999 helped propel the filmmaker into the mainstream, and giving Willis' his most popular movie at the box office of all time. The film brought in $293.5 million at the domestic box office, adjusted for inflation it's a $528 million haul in the US alone.
The year after The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan and Willis worked together on Unbreakable, a superhero drama that arrived prior to the deluge of comic book adaptations that would follow in the 2000s. For years after that film there were talks of a sequel but it wasn't until 2017's Split was released that Shyamalan and Willis re-teamed, teeing up the eventual follow-up that would arrive in 2019 with Glass.
"As a kid I had a Die Hard poster up on my wall forever," Shyamalan said in an interview with TASS back in 2019. "I owe him a lot, I owe him my career really, to be honest. No kid, who's 24-25 years old writes a movie and has a superstar say yes and then lets them make it exactly the way that they want to make it. And I had all these crazy theories about making movies and he let me do all of it."
In a statement signed from Bruce's current wife Emma Heming, ex-wife Demi Moore, and children Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel, & Evelyn, the family confirmed he would be stepping away from the spotlight and retiring from acting. "This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion, and support," they wrote. "We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him."
(Cover Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)