“I feel like an a–hole for my petty complaints from 2010.”
The news of Bruce Willis‘ devastating diagnosis on Wednesday prompted many well-wishes from friends, family and fans… and one notable detractor.
Kevin Smith, who infamously blasted the actor over their troubled time making the critically-panned 2010 film “Cop Out”, was among the first to offer his condolences.
“Long before any of the Cop Out stuff, I was a big Bruce Willis fan – so this is really heartbreaking to read,” Smith tweeted. “He loved to act and sing and the loss of that has to be devastating for him.”
“I feel like an asshole for my petty complaints from 2010. So sorry to BW and his family.”
The buddy cop comedy, which cast Tracy Morgan opposite Willis, is the only film Smith ever directed that he did not also write. As legend goes, one of the main reasons he agreed to do it was because Willis was on board, of whom — as he mentioned in his tweet — he was a huge fan.
But as the adage goes, you should never meet your heroes: Smith later said in an interview with Marc Maron that he had great difficulty directing Willis, describing the experience as “soul crushing.”
“One guy wouldn’t even sit for a f–king poster shoot,” he told the host on his WTF podcast in 2011. While he didn’t mention Willis by name, it was pretty quickly whittled down by process of elimination.
“Everyone knows who it is,” he said at the time, per Collider. “Put it this way, remember the really funny guy in the movie? It ain’t him. He’s a f–king dream. Tracy Morgan, I would lay down in traffic for. Were it not for Tracy, I might’ve killed myself or someone else in the making of that movie.”
He went on: “It was difficult. I’ve never been involved in a situation like that where, one component is not in the box at all. It was f–kin soul crushing. I mean, a lot of people are gonna be like, ‘Oh, you’re just trying to blame the movie on him.’ No, but I had no f–king help from this dude whatsoever.”
Willis was reportedly a no-show at the film’s wrap party in 2009; The National Enquirer reported at the time, per /Film, that Smith toasted that party with: “I want to thank everyone who worked on the film, except for Bruce Willis… who is a f–king d–k!”
While it was panned by critics and audiences alike — scoring a respective 18 and 39 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — “Cop Out” (originally to be called “A Couple of Dicks”) is actually Smith’s best box office performer to date, grossing $55million off a $30million budget.
Sadly a sequel, or indeed any new Bruce Willis film, may never be made after the star’s family revealed on Wednesday he was stepping away from acting due to health concerns.
“To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” read the Instagram post, simultaneous shared by current and ex wives Emma Hemming and Demi Moore, as well as his three elder daughters Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah:
“As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”
“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support. We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him. As Bruce always says, ‘Live it up’ and together we plan to do just that.”
The message was signed by all five women, as well as Willis’ two youngest daughters Mabel, 9, and Evelyn, 7.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Aphasia is a condition that robs you of the ability to communicate. It can affect your ability to speak, write and understand language, both verbal and written.”
It can occur suddenly after a stroke or a head injury, but it can also come on gradually from a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage.
Depending on the severity, recovery is possible, aided by speech therapy.
Smith’s tweet meanwhile was applauded by many of his followers online: