Back in the Red
BRUCE Willis might be one of the biggest action stars on the planet, but fast cars and guns don’t really interest him. “All I’m really trying to be is entertaining, and the action sequences are just part of a certain kind of entertainment,” the 58- year- old said.
“And it’s not my favourite kind of entertainment. I like to try to make people laugh more than I like to fight in films.”
The irony of this is exaggerated by Willis speaking in a monotone voice. But the fact he was talking at all marks progress.
Willis’ interview was delayed because he had requested an ice- cream break. Gelato consumed, and access to enter his hotel suite granted, it was a surprise to find the actor had chosen to wear a towelling dressing gown over his clothes. Given the interview was being filmed, it seemed an unusual choice.
Finally, we got on with the task in hand, talking about his latest movie.
Red 2 is the sequel to the successful 2010 movie Red, in which Willis, John Malkovich and Dame Helen Mirren appeared as retired CIA agents who worked together to uncover a high- tech assassin who had threatened the peaceful life of former black ops agent Frank Moses ( Willis).
This time, the team assemble to track down a lethal device that could change the balance of world power, but at the movie’s core is Frank’s relationship with Sarah ( Mary- Louise Parker), the customer services agent he met in the original.
Frank, unequipped to handle a basic relationship, wants to live a quiet life, but Sarah is concerned things are getting stale and is keen to get in on the action.
“I like the idea of being awkward about romance,” he said. “Because I think in real life I do an OK job at being romantic. But I also enjoy the character in this film, especially as Red 2 was written in that direction.”
The movie is epic in its scale, taking in Paris, London and Tokyo, but Willis was more concerned the script hit the right tone.
“When we did the first film, it was very ambitious and it’s not often they [ Hollywood] try to make something that has action, romance and comedy all in the same film,” he said.
Despite the 18- month gap between movies, when the actors reunited it was “as if we’d just seen each other the day before”, Willis. said. “Everyone was already in character and showed up ready to play.
“I like to work in ensemble casts and I like to work with this group of actors especially. All we do all day long is try to make each other laugh, and hopefully that gets onto the screen and you’ll find some of it funny, too.”
Willis picked up an interest in drama in high school and, after college, honed his craft in several plays before landing the lead in an offBroadway production of Fool For Love in 1984.
“If you talk about difficult acting, it’s theatre,” he said. “There’s no second take and it creates much more fear than making films.”
Willis is famous for his roles in action movies such as Die Hard, a genre that requires an actor to keep himself in good nick.
“Vanity plays a big part in staying in shape,” he said. “I have to think about the food I eat and picking up weights.”
But whatever he’s doing seems to be working, as his movies have grossed more than $ 1.12 billion at the box offi ce.
“I try not to take it very seriously. It’s a diffi cult thing if you take yourself or what you do seriously,” he said.
But as casual as he sounds, Willis admitted things would be worse if his wife of four years, Emma Heming, and their 16- month- old daughter Mabel weren’t close by.
“I’m fortunate I get to bring my family with me when I travel,” he said.
“It would be impossible, unbearable, for anyone I was working with, if I didn’t have them with me, because I’d be moaning about it.”
Now showing State and Village cinemas