BRUCE WILLIS GQ – From Moonlighting to Moonrise Kingdom, Bruce Willis has made a career of confounding audiences. He’s a guy who can shoot ‘em up in Die Hard and its upcoming fifth-installment, and then twee it up, all sensitive and vulnerable, for Wes Anderson. The result? One of the weirdest bodies of work (in a good way) of any A-list actor in Hollywood. In GQ’s March issue, deputy editor Michael Hainey sits down with Willis and finds a man who is driven to always “approach a bigger task” and to keep his career “looking lifelike” and somewhat surprising, much to the delight of his audiences. Willis reveals himself to be a man who is old enough to have some thoughts on where he’s been, yet young enough to care a lot more about where he’s going next.
Bruce Willis on his advice to actors:
“I recently heard one of my fellow actors say it in three words: ‘Just shut up.’ Just go silent. Maybe it’s being older; maybe that’s just a tiny tag of wisdom, that you’ve got to think about something before you say something. I once thought that somehow, with this job, also comes the inherent right to say whatever the fuck I want regardless of whether I’m right or wrong or think that anybody needs to hear it or should hear it.”
…on never being nominated for an Oscar:
“I don’t think about it too much. It just always has seemed whimsical to me, to think about it. You don’t get an Oscar for comedy, and you don’t get it for shooting people. You get it for novelty, of being fascinating to watch in some character role. But the Die Hard stuff and Dirty Harry are all fraught with the same thing that every story is fraught with.”
…on the parallels between Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, and himself:
GQ: Maybe you’re going to punch me in the face for saying this, but I’ve noticed some pretty interesting parallels here, between you and Clint Eastwood and the arcs of your careers: You both started on TV shows; then, while on hiatus from the shows, you both shot movies that made your careers.
I did not know that.
GQ: But check this: You are now 57, making your fifth Die Hard. Eastwood made his fifth and final Dirty Harry when he was 57.
I like that.
GQ: One could say, like Eastwood, you make it look too easy. People take it for granted how hard it is to play these characters, Dirty Harry and John McClane.
Mel Gibson also fits that mold, of having an awareness that everybody thinks we’re just fucking around. But it does require a method to your good fortune.
…on overcoming his stutter:
“The Cub Scout years, I had a terrible stutter. But then I did some theater somewhere, probably in high school. And when I memorized words, I didn’t stutter, which was just miraculous. That was the beginning of the gradual dispelling of my stutter. I thought I was handicapped. I couldn’t talk at all. I still stutter around some people now.”
…on his sobriety:
“I had been sober [for a while]. But once I realized that I wasn’t gonna run myself off the pier of life with alcohol, drinking vodka out of the bottle every day… I have wine now, mostly when I eat.”
…on maybe trying out theater:
“I’d like to go and do theater. It seems like a more reasonable job, more manageable.”
…on future plans and if he’d pursue politics:
GQ: There is the image of “Bruce Willis,” but what will resonate with people who read this interview is that you’re not John McClane. It’s more like “Hey, guess what, kids? I’m a 57-year-old guy, and it doesn’t matter if you’re making movies or working in an office, you wonder about your life. Your purpose.” That’s the eternal unifier here.
Yes. And nobody wants to hear this bad news, but we’re all dying on some level. I’m going to try to keep the machine moving forward as much as possible and not have to think about the eventuality of becoming more frail and less able to do the work. I know that I’m not going into politics. That’s not an option. I was asked, and I said, “Did you hear any of the stuff about me when I was a kid?”
GQ: Would you really do something like that?
Maybe on a smaller level?
GQ: Mayor of Carmel?
Something where you can make the town a little better. That idea of trying to help someone and not fuck it up.
…on Bill O’Reilly and his books:
“I’ve been reading a lot of—I read a lot anyway, but—I’ve been reading a lot, in Europe. … [Bill O’Reilly] wrote about the assassination of Lincoln and the assassination of JFK. I learned more things from him and his story of JFK than I ever knew. Bill O’Reilly is a great researcher. Whatever you think about his character that he plays in the news, he’s a great researcher.”
To read the full interview click HERE