Ac­tion with a Wil­lis wink

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

BRUCE Wil­lis is 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. And it’s not my favourite kind of en­ter­tain­ment,’’ Wil­lis says.

‘‘I like to try and make peo­ple laugh more than I like to fight in films.’’

The 58-year-old ac­tor is back on the big screen in Red 2, the se­quel to the suc­cess­ful 2010 film Red, in which Wil­lis, John Malkovich and Dame Helen Mir­ren played re­tired CIA agents work­ing to un­cover a high­tech as­sas­sin who’s threat­ened the peace­ful life of for­mer black ops agent Frank Moses (Wil­lis).

This time, the team as­sem­bles to track down a miss­ing, lethal de­vice that could change the bal­ance of world power, with Frank’s re­la­tion­ship with Sarah (MaryLouise Parker), the cus­tomer ser­vices agent he met in the first movie, at the core of the story.

Un­equipped to han­dle a ba­sic re­la­tion­ship and keen to look af­ter his ‘‘frag­ile china doll’’, Frank wants to live a con­tent and quiet life, while Sarah’s con­cerned things are get­ting a lit­tle stale and is keen to get in on any ac­tion.

Would Wil­lis agree they’re stuck in a rut? There’s a very long pause as he con­sid­ers the ques­tion.

‘‘I like the idea of be­ing awkward about ro­mance,’’ he says slowly.

‘‘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 that the script hit the right tone.

‘‘When we did the first film, it was very am­bi­tious and it’s not of­ten they (the money men) try to make some­thing that has ac­tion, ro­mance and com­edy all in the same film,’’ he says.

Red 2 opens to­day.

De­spite the 18-month gap be­tween movies, Wil­lis says ‘‘it was as if we’d just seen each other the day be­fore’’ when the ac­tors re­united.

‘‘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,’’ he says.

‘‘All we do all day long is try and make each other laugh and hope­fully that gets on to the screen and you’ll find some of it funny, too.’’

Wil­lis be­came in­ter­ested in drama at high school and honed his craft af­ter col­lege in sev­eral plays be­fore land­ing the lead in an off-Broad­way pro­duc­tion of Fool For Love in 1984. ‘‘If you talk about dif­fi­cult act­ing, it’s theatre,’’ he says. ‘‘There’s no sec­ond take and it cre­ates much more fear than mak­ing films.’’

Wil­lis has since be­come fa­mous for his roles in ac­tion movies such as the Die Hard fran­chise – a genre that re­quires an ac­tor to stay in good nick.

‘‘Van­ity plays a big part in stay­ing in shape. I have to think about the food I eat and pick­ing up weights,’’ he says.

Wil­lis’s films have grossed more than $US1 bil­lion ($1.12 bil­lion) at the box of­fice.

‘‘I try not to take it very se­ri­ously. It’s a dif­fi­cult thing if you take your­self or what you do se­ri­ously,’’ he says.

Wil­lis is grate­ful he’s able to work with his wife of four years, Emma Hem­ing, and their 16-month-old daugh­ter, Ma­bel, close by.

‘‘I’m for­tu­nate that I get to bring my fam­ily with me when I travel,’’ he says.

‘‘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.’’

Red 2.

– SU­SAN GRIF­FIN

Bruce Wil­lis (cen­tre) as re­tired CIA black ops agents Frank Moses with Mary-Louise Parker as his beloved Sarah Ross and John Malkovich as Marvin Boggs in a scene from Dean Parisot’s film

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