Back in the Red

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - SU­SAN GRIF­FIN

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

SEE­ING RED: Mary- Louise Parker, Bruce Willis and John Malkovich star in Red 2.

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