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Interview: Bruce Willis

The star of Red on crushes, action films and getting old

Bruce Willis may have built a solid reputation as a man of action, but that package-deal persona always makes sure he’s packing a sense of humor too, which is especially true of his latest venture, Red. Not to mention this press faceoff, when it was sometimes hard to tell if Bruce was dead serious or just kidding—take for example his not-exactly-Halloween-season trick-or-treat story, having something to do with pumpkins. But the tough guy on screen—and now reportedly away from the camera’s eye as well—did man up about the joy of crashing into each other in movies and his latest big challenge—doing battle with a house plant.

Q: Helen Mirren says she’s had a crush on you for just about forever, and she doesn’t want her husband to know. How do you feel about that? And what do you think of one of the themes in Red, of aging?


BRUCE WILLIS: Let me talk to you about aging first and then we’ll come back to Helen’s crush. Aging is what we’re all doing right now. Right now it’s happening, during the course of this conversation. In seconds, minutes, hours and days, it’s all going right by. So there’s only one thing to do, really, and that’s to just start living it up, right now. Which is what we did on Red. We had fun every day; I think everybody had fun every day.

Photos from Red

Q: And what about Helen’s crush?

BW: I’m just trying to think of what to say. I’m happily married. I couldn’t be more thrilled that Helen has a crush on me. I’m rather fond of her as well—and her husband, Taylor!

Q: You’re one of the most favorite actors in the world, even if your designated love interest Mary-Louise Parker tells you in the movie she wishes you had more hair. So what was it about Red that got you on board?

BW: Well, I didn’t know that it was going to be as much fun as it turned out to be, but I have a pretty scientific way of choosing roles. I even used to ask advice from members of my band, and from my kids. None of that seemed to work. So what I ended up doing was just hanging up a pumpkin in the room. You get a baseball bat and turn off all the lights. If I hit the bat smack dab in the middle of the pumpkin, then I would do that film. That’s how I ended up picking Red. It’s just a 50-50 chance…What a stupid story that was! I’m sorry, I’m possibly jet lagged right now. I wish I could take credit for being right when the film turns out great. We’re certainly not doing anything new in Red—it’s about good guys winning over the bad guys, and that’s been going on since they’ve had movies. But I like the fact that I’m in that game and in that side of it. I’m really lucky, to get to continue being asked back. But yeah, I get to be funny. I like setting up people too.

Q: Who got beat up the most in that climatic fight scene?

BW: Well, I got my ass kicked in that fight scene and had less fun than when you get to go run around blowing things up and go act like someone else.

Q: Morgan Freeman was just in here saying how much he loves working with you. Is the feeling mutual?

BW: No crush? Yeah, we’ve done a few films together and he is just a rock solid guy. He always brings something interesting to a movie. He makes me laugh. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, and I’ve gotten to work with him three times now. I do have a crush on him!

Q: There’s some vice president bashing going on in Red. So would you say this is also a political movie, besides an action comedy?

BW: I would vote no. I’m personally not a fan of politically themed movies. I think you can just turn the television on and get as much of that as you need.

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