June 19, 2024


Interview with Sean O’Connell, Author of ‘Bruce Willis: Celebrating the Cinematic Legacy of an Unbreakable Hollywood Icon’

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Interview with Sean O’Connell, Author of ‘Bruce Willis: Celebrating the Cinematic Legacy of an Unbreakable Hollywood Icon’
Cosmic Cafe
Interview with Sean O’Connell, Author of ‘Bruce Willis: Celebrating the Cinematic Legacy of an Unbreakable Hollywood Icon’

Jun 19 2024 | 00:42:38


Show Notes

Bruce Willis is a name synonymous with Hollywood blockbusters and almost every genre of projects you can think of. Yet, for many, accessing the full spectrum of his cinematic achievements can be as challenging. Thankfully, Sean O’Connell’s new biography focused on Bruce Willis and his acting past, offers a comprehensive and engaging journey through the star’s illustrious career. From his early days and successes to more recent projects. 

In his insightful biography titled Bruce Willis: Celebrating the Cinematic Legacy of an Unbreakable Hollywood IconSean O’Connell delves into Willis’ rise from humble beginnings to his status as a global icon, providing fans with a rich and detailed story about his acting life. Through exclusive interviews and meticulous research, O’Connell explored Willis’ most iconic roles, his personal life, and the impact he had on the film industry. This book is a must-read for anyone eager to fully appreciate the legacy of Bruce Willis.

Find this book on Amazon or most places books are sold.

Host/Interviewer: Wiktor Reinfuss

Theme: "Coffee and You" via Pixabay.

Find the companion article to this podcast on thecosmiccircus.com

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Welcome to the Cosmic Cafe, the companion interview podcast for thecosmiccircus.com. on today's episode, we have writer Victor Reinvest, who is interviewing journalist and writer Sean O'Connell about his new book, Bruce Willis, celebrating the cinematic legacy of an unbreakable Hollywood icon. O'Connell is also the author of with great power, how Spider man conquered Hollywood during the Hollywood age of comic book blockbusters. And release the Snyder Cut, the crazy true story behind the fight that saved Zack Snyder's Justice League. Listen in to find out more about these great books. [00:00:42] Speaker B: I'm ready to go. You lead the way. I'll follow. [00:00:46] Speaker C: No problem. First thing first, I want to thank you for accepting the invitation because I've been a, I've been a huge fan of your two books so far, the Zack Snyder book and the Spiderman book. I love them. [00:01:02] Speaker B: Thank you very much. I appreciate you checking them out. [00:01:05] Speaker C: Yeah. The Spider man, especially because it was the first one that I checked and I loved it. And I want to ask, because after, you know, examining a huge phenomenon, like to mention Snyder, Cat and Spider, how did you pick the Bruce Willis to be your next subject? Because, you know, it's kind of another superhero theme so far. [00:01:29] Speaker B: Yeah, no, for sure. So I am a die hard comic book fan. I love superhero movies. That's my favorite genre of film. It's kind of crazy that I've been lucky enough to be a professional film writer during a time when, when it seems like Marvel and DC were kind of at the top of their game. And even now when it seems like each of them are going through a period of change, you know, I fully expect each of them to be back up and running at full strength, you know, within the year or so, especially with what James Gunn is going to launch. And, and, you know, Feige is not going to let Marvel spin too far out of control. But after doing those two books and really the Snyder cut one felt like it was a breaking news story, like, as it was happening, because I was kind of researching that online movement and the work that they were doing to get the cut released, and there was a lot of urgency to were they going to succeed? How far were they going to keep pushing it? A lot of people who thought that they should stop, you know, Zack sort of continuing to egg them on and tell them, no, keep pushing for it. And then before that book, before I was able to finish writing it, HBO Max kind of decided that they were going to release the final cut. So that was very much a work that was coming together as all the stuff was happening. And then with Spider Man, I knew I wanted to take over something that was, like, a controlled amount of time and really go from, like, the earliest beginning history of Spider man through no way home, which is all three of them kind of coming together under the banner. And so for the next, for the third book, the third idea, I knew I wanted to go a little bit bigger, but then didn't realize how big Bruce Willis's career was. He has a lot of movies, 115 different movies. But I've always loved him. He's been one of my favorite actors of all time. Like, I love the first die hard film. That has been my go to answer of my favorite movie of all time from, from when I was a kid, and I got to see it for the very first time. I loved the career choices that he made over the years and the different directors that he wanted to work with. So I knew I wanted to do something about him. I just didn't know what. And it was when he announced his retirement and said that he was, you know, going to stop acting that I thought, okay, this is a good time for me to sort of take his career as a whole and try to figure out and then explain to people why I think he matters, like, why he's important to film history and the idea of the movie star, you know, the idea of the A lister, which, you know, isn't, isn't really much of a thing anymore, although it's starting to come back. We're starting to see people like Glenn Powell, you know, Emma Stone, that they're starting to bring back celebrity. [00:04:18] Speaker C: So, yeah, I mean, it's a really nice idea because, you know, from the one side, on the, on the one side, you have Zack Snyder and Spider man. Such a big projects like big universes, Big DC, Marvel Universe. And on the other side now we have Bruce Willis, like you mentioned one, an a list actor back in the day. Now, unfortunately, we can say that about him. But, hey, he was a big name. And how did you approach the research process for this biography? Because, you know, Bruce Willis is such an iconic character even now. And, you know, with his current health situation, it. I think at least it wasn't that easy to know, to get everything in one book. [00:05:07] Speaker B: Sure. No. So for that reason, I tried to focus as much as I could on just his film work. I'm sure that there are plenty of other stories that could be told about his personal life. I'm sure someday someone's gonna write about his health situation. I, of course, mention that at the beginning of my book and talk about the fact that he's retiring because of the diagnosis of aphasia and how it's kind of evolved from that point on. But you could keep writing about that forever and ever. And, you know, in order to keep it focused, I wanted to just concentrate on his film work because even, you know, he's known for television with moonlighting and friends and his appearances on those. But by just taking on his film work and then dividing it up into different genres, because I was kind of impressed by the number of different shifts in his career that, like, he would go down the science fiction rabbit hole with, you know, twelve Monkeys or the fifth element or Armageddon, because in the 1990s, it seemed like a lot of those big action stars had to try to find those roles. He has a strong comedic, you know, aspect of his film career where you can look at movies like the whole nine yards where death becomes her, and he wasn't afraid to try to be funny or at least be part of an ensemble of funny people. I break out a whole section of people where he works with, like, respected directors, Wes Anderson, Rian Johnson, obviously, Quentin Tarantino. His efforts with Brian de Palma, which probably, you know, didn't really work out that well, but directors who he found at very early stages, like M. Night Shyamalan, was not M. Night Shyamalan when they first started working together, you know, and through the 6th sense and unbreakable, it kind of launched M. Night's career. And Bruce did that a number of times over the course of his career. He found a director who needed a boost. You know, got behind their script and believed in their project. And I'm not quite sure how many movie stars can do that anymore. You know, I think that that's the product of an old, bygone era. And I kind of admired and respected the stuff that he did over the course of his career from that. From that perspective. [00:07:14] Speaker C: Yeah. Nowadays, I mean, at least 80% of actors can become big names. Like, you appear in a one Marvel movie, and then your career just starts on and you go, yeah, yeah. You go in every, every other, every way possible. No, M. Night Shyamalan can hire you. Tarantino can hire you, everyone. But during your research, were there any aspects of Bruce, Bruce Willis career that surprised you? [00:07:47] Speaker B: Yeah, without a doubt. I was surprised at some of the, especially in the, in the later stages of his career that, that three year, four year stretch of movies that he was doing where everybody kind of asked themselves, like, why is he appearing in these films? And I still don't know 100% why he appeared. And most of them are like direct to dvd, you know, where he only has five minutes of screen time, and it's clear that he shot it in one day. And even though he has this health diagnosis, which explains why he isn't as sharp in those movies as he could be. And this goes back to even when he did death wish with Eli Roth and a number of other films, you know, in the back half of his career. It doesn't explain why someone in his camp didn't step forward and say, you shouldn't be doing these. You know, you don't need to do this unless there's a financial reason that we don't know about. And maybe it gets revealed somewhat later on, you know, like, Nicolas Cage is doing those movies because he owes taxes or he has gambling debt or something is going on. I don't know what it is with Bruce, and I was really surprised as why he took that opportunity. But more often than not, even the movies where Bruce tried something and it was a bomb, you know, or just not as well received as maybe he thought. There's a couple of movies like, you know, lay the favorite or hostage, or, you know, films like that you could at least see on paper that he thought it was going to be a good collaboration with a good director, or there was a script that was involved and he was really intrigued by it. Or there's a movie he was in called the Jackal, you know, where he plays a chameleon villain who's being chased by Richard Gere, and it's not a good movie, but if he comes around and says in an interview, well, I just wanted a chance to collaborate with Richard Gere, and I never thought I'd get a chance to do this again. And you're like, okay, I understand where you're talking about it. Yeah, it didn't work, you know, but I get what he was trying to do, at the very least. [00:09:45] Speaker C: Yeah. Opportunity of a lifetime. Yeah, but, you know, Bruce Willis, important person. But from your perspective, when you were writing the book, what were the biggest challenges that you have that you had when you were organizing everything and writing it? [00:10:05] Speaker B: Well, this wasn't so much of a challenge as just, it was overwhelming the amount of material that's out there about him because he's had this four decade career. There are so many interviews. There's so many, you know, I tried to limit reviews that I read that focused on his performances. I dug up magazine cover stories and things that he would give. But even over the course of his career, whenever somebody got a chance to do a long form interview with him, they wanted to talk about things like his politics or, of course, his marriage to Demi Moore. Like, he was so much of a tabloid guy and he didn't want to be. And so the challenge became finding people who actually wrote about him and his craft. You know, I wanted to focus on him as an actor. I wanted to focus on the decisions that he was making for his professional career. And so much of it wanted to focus instead on, like, the planet Hollywood, you know, that he was going to open or jumping on stage with a harmonica to play with the band. And. And that party asked aspect of him is without a doubt, a huge part of his personality. But, you know, to find people who took him deadly seriously as an actor is few and far between. Even Roger Ebert, who's a critic, who I admire, you know, deeply, and. And read all of his stuff. I read all of the reviews that he ever wrote about Bruce's movies, and. And Roger Ebert would find ways to write about almost everything else in the movie except for Bruce. And he might give, like, a sentence or two about Bruce's performance. And I wish I could ask Ebert this. He's gone now, but I want to ask him, like, did you not like Bruce Willis? Like, you never really wrote about him in his performances, even in, like, the 6th sense. He spends the whole time talking about Hailey, Joel Osment, and the aspects of the ghost story, and then he's like, and Bruce Willis was there, too. And it's like, give me a little bit more, please. I want to know something. So I think, Victor, that might speak to the fact, because what blows my mind is how Bruce was never nominated for an Oscar over the course of his career and how specifically there are movies where, like, pulp fiction, everybody gets nominated except for Bruce. The 6th sense, like Hailey, Joel Osmond, Tony Collette, M. Night Shyamalan, they all get nominated. But, like, you're just overlooking the fact that Bruce is, like, a significant part of these movies. And I have to believe that it's because the Academy members and the film industry just didn't take him seriously as an actor. And to me, that's ridiculous. Cause I think he's extremely talented, and I think that talent gets overlooked. [00:12:50] Speaker C: Yeah. I mean, he's one of those actors that never got nominated. But there's the chance that, let's hope before something sad will happen that he'll get at least an honorable oscar. [00:13:02] Speaker B: I exactly think that that's what's gonna happen. I think he'll end up getting an honorary Oscar. And that would be unfortunate to me because I think he deserves it for his talent. [00:13:10] Speaker C: Yeah, I mean, it's sad, but when you think about it, there's a lot of actors who deserve it, but they're overlooked. [00:13:20] Speaker B: Absolutely. [00:13:21] Speaker C: Yeah. But now that you mentioned the movies that Bruce Millis was in, I mean, we had the die hard, the fifth element, the 6th sense, or the pop fiction, which I really love. And they're amazing movies. But in your opinion, which movie may be Bruce Willis's biggest success or the guaranteed recognition of his role in the center in the cinema? [00:13:54] Speaker B: It has to be. There's two I think you can choose from. Die Hard is the movie that, you know, everyone is going to talk about when Bruce Willis passes. When Bruce Willis passes, like immediately, they're going to, it's going to be die hard star. You know, that's his franchise. That's the one that put him on the map. That's the most significant one. 6th sense. However, the 6th sense is his most financially successful film. That film was a juggernaut when it came out in theaters. Like, I was lucky enough to be reviewing film at the time. And I can remember being in theater, you know, Friday night, opening weekend, and nobody seeing that twist coming. You know, it was a just a roundhouse hit. And because of that, word of mouth, kept it, you know, top of the box office for as long as it had been. So, but I thought it also showed a side of Bruce Willis that people didn't expect. You know, he's an action star. He's, you know, physical, you know, leads with, leads with his chin kind of thing. 6th Sense was an example of the minimalist acting that I think he was very good at. Also quiet, letting everybody else sort of perform around him, you know, but being there in support, still the leaning man, but very much being in support of this generational child actor, you know, who is giving one of the best performances. But then Bruce, that minimalist side leads into twelve monkeys and it leads into Looper, you know, and it leads, you start to see him experimenting with that type of acting. And so I think die hard is the one that makes him a global sensation. But, but 6th sense is the one that proves to the industry there's much more to this guy. And, and not only if we let him do it, audiences are going to follow. You know, they, they are willing to accept him in those roles. I make this comparison a bunch. I don't know if it's fair or not, but, you know, Bruce gets compared to the Stallone and Schwarzenegger because they all sort of came up together. And I say if you, if you put either of those two guys in the 6th sense, the movie doesn't work. You know, if Sylvester Stallone tries to. The 6th sense that, God forbid, if Arnold Schwarzenegger tries to do the 6th sense, it doesn't work. Right. It doesn't work. But, but the audience, we are willing to believe Bruce Willis in that part. And so I think that, that at least showed a lot of studio heads that like, no, he's a different actor. He's a character actor. We can, we can cast him in parts like that. [00:16:18] Speaker C: Yeah. I think it comes from the fact that he was a comedy guy, the comedy actor, and he went and, and did a series role, and that's something that people really want to see, the comedy comedians becoming actors who play series roles and not, not reverse and not the other way around. [00:16:37] Speaker B: Absolutely. [00:16:38] Speaker C: And I think that was the, the biggest success. But the 6th sense, I think. I don't know if you think the same as me, but the, the fact that, you know, the plot now doesn't change the fact that it still has a great part of emotion in the end. [00:16:58] Speaker B: Absolutely. Oh, absolutely. Yes. You get so swept up in, can Doctor Malcolm help this young boy? And it's, it's a big part of the reason why the scene that matters the most isn't even the reveal of the twist. It's, it's Toni Collette and, and Haley Joel Osmond in the car, you know, in the traffic jam where he's finally admitting, you know, or explaining to her that he can see her mother and that she comes to visit her often. You're invested in those characters. You're so, you know, emotionally entwined in that journey. So, yeah, you're 100% right. You don't need to be knocked off by the twist to still get invested in that story. [00:17:41] Speaker C: Yeah, it was very unfaithful for me because I knew the twist before I saw the movie. [00:17:46] Speaker B: Oh, no. [00:17:47] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:17:48] Speaker B: I'm sorry. [00:17:49] Speaker C: Unfortunately. Yeah. But I still loved it. And it's a great piece of old M. Night Shyamalan. [00:17:58] Speaker B: Absolutely. But then listen to this. So movies that we haven't even talked about. For Bruce, Armageddon is a ginormous movie. The Sin City movies, you know, kind of reinvented how Rodriguez does green screen, you know, and what, how people can adapt comic book movies 300 and Sin City kind of reinvented that wheel with Snyder and Rodriguez. And Bruce is at the forefront of that. He goes over and does Moonrise Kingdom with Wes Anderson, you know, and fits comfortably in that ensemble. Like, he was such a gifted and versatile actor that I just don't. I don't think people give him enough credit for it. [00:18:35] Speaker C: Yeah, I just wanted, you know, to talk about this because in Spider man book, I saw, at least it was my feeling that he wrote the book as a bunch of mini articles that summarizes every single Spider man era, from Nicholas Hammond to Tobey Maguire to Andrew and to Tom. But here you did something different. You made eras of Bruce Willis career as chapters. And I think this look, amazing idea. [00:19:09] Speaker B: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that. Well, I really wanted this book, and I want this book to be the type of book where someone could pick it up, they could skip right to the chapter of the movie that they're interested in because, you know, you're probably going to have a favorite Bruce Willis movie if you're picking this book up, and you're going to want to see what I have to say about it. But also, maybe, you know, you might learn about one that you haven't seen yet. And so I want people to be able to, like, stop, go find the movie, you know, on a streaming service or on a dvd, put it on, watch it, and then go back and read what I had to say about it. The Spider man one, it definitely was a series of stories, but I wanted to kind of continuously prove that, like, with each stop along the way, this is what people were learning about how to do Spider man movies. And Raimi had to figure out so much from the very beginning. Cause he was the first one to really try it. And then Mark Webb almost had to completely reinvent. Cause he didn't wanna copy Sam Raimi. And then Marvel getting their first swing at doing Spider man and making sure that he was as young as possible. There was still lessons being learned. But the Bruce one, I want people to be able to come in and out of the book as much as they want to and go enjoy a couple of his movies and then come back into the chapter and see what I had to say about it, know, disagree with me as much as you want, and, you know, send me hate mail and stuff like that. [00:20:30] Speaker C: So, yeah, we don't want that, but, yeah, but now I see certain connections because Zack Snyder book was the glorification of a project in a way. Now, in Spider man, we had the glorification of a character throughout the years, and now we have a clarification of a renewed actor, like a very respective, respectable actor. And I really like it because there's everything for everyone. [00:20:59] Speaker B: Well, I like to, I would rather celebrate the things that work than tear down or overly critique the things that don't. There's too much of that in our society in general and in film criticism and film analysis. I'm not saying that you have to love everything. That's definitely not the case. But, and especially if anyone out there listening to this ever decides that they would like to write a book, more power to you. I think that's fantastic. But you better love the thing that you're writing about because you are going to live with that subject for the better part of two years. And so if you're picking something that you don't like, you know, that you hate, and you're going to critique it to death, then you're going to live in that headspace for two years. And that's terrible. You know, with each of my projects, I think I wanted to really celebrate the things that were happening. I wanted to celebrate the unique movement of the Snyder cut movement. I wanted to definitely celebrate Spider man. He's my favorite character of all time, and I want to celebrate Bruce. Yeah. I mean, they're special people. You know, they're special characters. They're big ideas that, that I want to embrace and, and pass down to other people. [00:22:06] Speaker C: Yeah. I mean, wow. I, I'm very astonished because the way that you described Bruce Willis in a book, it was like you perfectly balanced the person he was in the beginning, in the middle, and a few years ago when he was doing those not so good movies and. [00:22:30] Speaker B: Right. [00:22:30] Speaker C: I really loved how you perfectly described his journey because it was very visible that in the beginning he was, dare I say, a shy actor that was just starting. And then with each project, with his popularity rising, he was getting more and more comfortable with his role in the film industry. [00:22:51] Speaker B: Sure. Well, I remember he came around at a very different time, as opposed to people who are signed to, let's say, a Marvel project now, and they become global sensations overnight. And because of things like social media, they're automatically everywhere. It was okay when Bruce Willis was coming up for him to have a couple of, not failures, but like his earlier movies like Blind Date and Sunset before, before die hard really hit. He was able to miss on a couple, you know, it was all right. You were, you were learning on the job sort of thing. And he kind of claimed that he was learning on the job through most of his career. You know, he thought he was always getting better at acting, and a lot of them are, you know, he just wanted to sort of collaborate with directors and figure out how to become a better actor over the course of his career. But then he had so much financial success with Die hard that it's much easier to risk a couple of projects when you have a bank filled with money because you had a successful film. [00:23:50] Speaker C: Yeah, but now that we had those in the book, we had those eras, the comedy era, the Sci-Fi era, the action movies era, the die hard era that. I was very surprised that you did not include it in the action movies, but you did a separate chapter focus on it, and I loved it, of course. Thank you. But would you agree that Bruce Willis was in the center of making those genres what they are today, like, defining the genre in a way? [00:24:24] Speaker B: You know, it's interesting because I think he's best known for the action genre, but I feel like action movies today wouldn't know how to use him. And I'll use an example of the rock. The rock is the antithesis of Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis is a blue collar guy, you know, a regular guy who can be hurt, who can bleed, who you don't really know if he's going to make it to the end of the movie. And the rock is a machine, you know, and he has to. He and Jason Statham have to negotiate who gets hit more times, you know, in a movie. So. So the action genre, yes, I think Bruce was. Was really important to it back in his day, but it's different now. You know, it's. It's a different type of storytelling, and I hope we get back to the storytelling where we could relate with the hero who's on screen. You know, speed is another great example of, Keanu Reeves wasn't a superhero in that movie. You know, he's a regular guy who's doing the right thing. That's all stems from the Bruce Willis model. But somewhere along the way, the action, and maybe superheroes did this. Superhero action movies became the action hero, had to become larger than life, and that wasn't Bruce. So maybe Bruce's influence was more in the science fiction genre because of the things that he tried with Luc Besson in the fifth element or Terry Gilliam for twelve monkeys. You see that smarter, idea driven science fiction more on television. You know, films like shows like three body problem or something like that, on Netflix. I think Bruce, if he were still acting today, if he was in his prime, he would thrive in a streaming series, you know, that was really pushing the envelope with maybe like Silo with Rebecca Ferguson or something. Like that. Something with really big ideas. [00:26:18] Speaker C: Yeah. Or die hard series. [00:26:21] Speaker B: Yes. I wish it were better. I wish they were better as they. [00:26:24] Speaker C: Got older, but, yeah, I mean, I really love the fact that you mentioned, you know, the die hard and all that, because I think that those action movies, the rock, because I think that back in the day, the hero had to be vulnerable. You had to, you know, just like you mentioned, to see yourself in his role, that he can get hurt and all that. And now we have those machines, like the rogue that you mentioned, that can get hurt, or you have to shoot him a million times, you know, to see him bleed. And, and that's very curious because Bruce Willis is a guy who, you know, in almost every movie, he gets hurt. [00:27:05] Speaker B: Mm hmm. [00:27:06] Speaker C: Like, you can see it either emotionally or physically. And for me, that's what makes them, those movies really authentic. I don't know if it, if that's the same for you, but. [00:27:17] Speaker B: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I want some suspense in the movie of whether or not the hero is going to prevail. You know, like, there should be the option that maybe he's not going to succeed. Maybe he's going to fail. And I don't think that that's the case in these modern action movies where, okay, if someone is facing an antagonist, it's just a matter of how is he going to, to beat him. You know, there's, the question is never in any doubt. But in the initial die hard movies, you know, you didn't think this guy was going to make it. The odds were stacked too high against him. You know, there was too many things going against, and, and the person then had to be smart. They had to out think their opponent. They had to figure their way out of a complicated situation. Whereas now it's just muscle your way right through it, you know, and we're going to paper over it with special effects. That human element is gone, and I love the human element of it. You know, I, that's what I want to see in, in our storytelling, in our heroes. Um, and I think probably, I think you probably agree with this. That's a big part of the reason why Spider man is my favorite hero. Like, more often than not, Peter Parker is overmatched. You know, he's, he's in some sort of situation that he is having a hard time getting his way out of it. He's, he's joking to cover up his fear, you know, but, but he's not Superman. He's a vulnerable superhero. [00:28:44] Speaker C: Yeah, I think that's what Stanley said once that people didn't believe in Spider man because how can teenager be a superhero? We can read about his problems and all that, and it clicked. It just worked. And that's what I think works also for Bruce Willis movies. But we also have young people who just start watching more and more movies. And now that I mentioned those eras that you have in the book, those chapters, which one do you think may be the best for young people to start to fully understand who Bruce Willis was and what was his impact on the cinema? [00:29:31] Speaker B: That's a great question. I want you to start with his action films, but I want you to start early on, like before he became, because eventually he starts playing Bruce Willis on screen. But early on in Die Hard, in Hudson Hawk, in the last Boy Scout, he's doing characters, but he's doing characters who are, they say something about the type of people that he likes to play. He loves playing underdogs. You know, I think it's important to be, to be aware of the fact that he's a sarcastic, tough underdog, you know, who's always going to fight to do the right thing, even, even though it's really difficult. That's an integral part of who Bruce Willis is. 16 blocks is another movie in his action genre of this guy just wants to go home, you know, but he's in a bad situation and he's got to get through to the end of the story. He's got a little bit of cowboy in him, you know, and I think that that's, that's a great way to sort of introduce yourself. Just see if you, if you relate to the hero, you know, see if you relate to that type of character, because I think he does that character better than anybody else. So I would try his early action ones and see if you relate to him and then maybe follow him into his comedies because he could be very funny when he wanted to be. [00:30:52] Speaker C: Yeah, I think that's the great way to start, especially, you know, with die hard. And then I would personally say that it's good to also watch the fifth element early, pretty early, because it's also a great piece of cinema that really relates to also what you mentioned in the book, that you really love body cop movies. [00:31:13] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:31:14] Speaker C: And it's a sort of body cup movie, but mixed with some different genres and absolutely enjoyed that part, and that was amazing. [00:31:23] Speaker B: But yet even in this bizarro science fiction world, he's playing just a taxicab driver, you know, still just a regular guy. [00:31:31] Speaker C: Yeah, just a regular guy who got tangled in Android problems yes. [00:31:37] Speaker B: Yeah, exactly. [00:31:38] Speaker C: Yeah. But what I also liked was that you really got personal in a book that you really spread your feelings on Bruce Willis, that how you loved him and what you love about his movies. And there was also the Mount Rushmore, as he called it, of his movies. And, you know, when you were writing the book and now comparing, comparing it, did, did it change since you wrote the book or do you think it's the unchangeable list? Because I don't know. I don't know if you still remember what you wrote about it. [00:32:16] Speaker B: No, I remember. Well, I know that I have die hard on there and I know that I have pulp fiction. [00:32:21] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:32:21] Speaker B: Then I have unbreakable. But really, it could be unbreakable or the 6th sense on any given day. Like, those are his two first M. Night Shyamalan collaborations. I probably went with unbreakable because, and I'll probably go with unbreakable more times than not because I am such a superhero nerd and it's a great superhero origin story that's different. You know, it's outside of the comic book realm. He and Sam Jackson are terrific in it. I love the idea. You know, if, if someone is Batman, there has to be a joker out there. You know, if someone is invulnerable, there has to be a mister glass. That's a terrific way to look at it. And then I think twelve Monkeys is my fourth one because I think that's his best performance. Will they change? Yeah, I mean, of course they could change, but. But those four have been my four, I think, for a really long period of time. And it would have to take something significant that changes in me for them to be any different because the movies aren't going to change. You know, it will just be how they affect me. And the only one that would switch, I think, would be, if unbreakable in the 6th sense, switch places. But those two are kind of interchangeable. [00:33:31] Speaker C: Okay, that's fair. That's really fair. I mean, you know, when you look at it, it's really interesting because not many people know that Bruce Willis did a movie like twelve monkeys. And they more recognize, they recognize the series more rather than the movie. And. [00:33:48] Speaker B: Sure. Yeah, exactly. Or even Brad Pitt, you know, Brad Pitt got the Oscar nomination for twelve monkeys, you know, for chewing the scenery and doing all of these, you know, ticks and facial movements and everything and. But it was Bruce who to me, quietly held that movie together. He's the glue that keeps that whole movie together. [00:34:07] Speaker C: Yeah. Also in the end of the book, like, in the end, and you had the ratings for each Bruce with his movie and project Zen in the form of an appendix, as you call it. And I really, you know, I really appreciate that you included this, because not every person, you know, wants to tell something, even in a short way, about each movie of a person they write biography of. [00:34:36] Speaker B: Mm hmm. Yeah. Well, that was the only reason that I could do that is because he retired. I wouldn't do it if, unless the list could be complete. He had, and in fact, it kind of got me a little bit worried when there was a news story coming out that Quentin Tarantino is going to be doing his 10th movie and that he might want to find a spot for Bruce in it, because then I thought, like, oh, no, that's going to be one movie that's missing, and it would be a really important one. It would be Tarantino's 10th movie, his final film, be Bruce's last performance. Like, I needed it to be the complete filmography. But also, if, again, if you're going to sit down and write a book about Bruce Willis, you damn well better listen and watch every movie that he's in, you know, and absorb them. And so I thought if I'm going to do it, I might as well write a capsule review for each of them. Now, when you say, like, what would change? So my mount Rushmore for him might not change, but those ratings were really hard to commit to, you know, because something could go from a three out of four to a three and a half, you know, or could go down to a two and a half. So I'm not really precious about those, you know, like, that's how I felt in the moment when I watched the movie. This is the grade that I thought it gets. I could be wrong about a few of them, you know, or maybe someone could sway me in a different direction. But ultimately, that's kind of how I felt about each of those movies when I watched them. [00:35:59] Speaker C: Yeah. I mean, you can easily release a new edition of the book in the future, just in case. [00:36:05] Speaker B: Exactly. Yeah. If anything drastically changes. [00:36:08] Speaker C: Yeah. But, you know, besides those movies that you mentioned in the Mount Rushmore, are there any that you love? You know, that you think they are not good enough for the Mount Rushmore, but do you really love them? [00:36:23] Speaker B: Yeah. Death becomes her is really up there for me. I think it's such a different movie for him. It's a broad comedy. You know, he's, he's playing in support to Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, who are fantastic I think that's a really good one. I love his cameo in oceans twelve. You know, I think that's such a funny scene. I think it's such an offbeat idea, you know, and it really only works because him and Julia Roberts are so good in that moment. I really do love Moonrise Kingdom. I love Wes Anderson in general, but I think Bruce is really great in Moonrise Kingdom. And, and then last Boy Scout like, people don't talk about that one enough, but it's such a quintessential, you know, nineties action. It's kind of dirty, it's kind of sleazy. It's got LA all over it. Tony Scott's a terrific director, you know, again, it's a buddy cop. It's him and Damon Wayans. Even though Damon Wayans is a football player, it still follows the buddy cop mentality. I love lethal weapon. You know, I think lethal weapon is one of the best action movies ever made like that. And die hard are neck and neck, and so lethal weapon feels like the, like last Boy Scout feels like the closest thing that Bruce ever got to mimicking Mel Gibson's lethal weapons. So. So I'll put. I'll put that up there as well, too. [00:37:38] Speaker C: Yeah. If there was any movie project role that if you. If you had a chance to cast Bruce Willis in, what would it be? [00:37:50] Speaker B: Oh, I. I would have loved to seen him in a Coen Brothers movie because I just think he rises to the level of the script. And, you know, what if he was Josh Brolin's character and no country for old men? [00:38:06] Speaker C: Oh, my God. [00:38:07] Speaker B: You know, like, it, it just would have been terrific. So any Coen brothers movie, because I also think I pair Bruce, you know, I think he's a Paul Newman type. I think he's. I think he's even a George Clooney type. And so he could do wacky the way that Clooney does wacky. But he could also do, like, if he was, if Bruce was in Soderbergh's out of sight, you know, he would have been just as good as Clooney in that film. But, but I hate the fact that we never got a Bruce Willis movie with the Coen brothers writing for him, because I think if they are doing a drama, you know, they would have found a way to include him. [00:38:49] Speaker C: Yeah, I think that he could even, you know, end up in a. In an 824 studio movie. [00:38:55] Speaker B: Sure. Absolutely. [00:38:57] Speaker C: Yeah. He was, he was an actor of many faces, so. Yeah, so that was really, really good. And it's really sad right now because it's an. [00:39:07] Speaker B: It is. [00:39:08] Speaker C: It's an end of an era, so. Yeah. [00:39:11] Speaker B: Well, and I hope the book, you know, helps people better, appreciate his contributions. You know, I hope that people. Because I do think most audiences just sort of think of him in the action genre, and I understand that, you know, that's where his biggest movies lie. But, you know, if you go back over that index, you know, at the end of the book and you see all the titles that are there and the different things that he tried, I just don't know if we have actors who are doing the things that he did. You know, I'm not sure that there's a comparable person that's. That's matching what he did. So I wanted to make sure I celebrated that. [00:39:43] Speaker C: Yeah. And it was really, really funny to, you know, to read because when I was reading the book, it was like time was just flying by, and, you know, with each chapter finished, I was like, okay, okay, okay. Why I'm going so fast through this book? [00:40:05] Speaker B: Well, I hope that's good. [00:40:06] Speaker C: Yeah. At least. At least for me. To me, it's good. Yeah. I love it. But, you know, not that we're coming close to an end, and so before we end up here, I wanted to ask you, are there any. Do you have any plans for a new book? Is it already planned? Or maybe you have one in the works currently? [00:40:29] Speaker B: I don't have anything planned right now. I definitely do want to do another. I'm kicking around a couple of ideas. It's hard because what I learned through the three books is that you should have a topic that's. That's big enough to warrant, you know, a book coverage. And not everything fits that. Like, not everything has enough story to tell. So I really do want to find something that's. That's big and something that, you know, justifies the amount of research that goes into it. I may go back into the world of DC, you know, I may go back into. I may go back into. To James Gunn in this universe that he's building that's been chewing away at the back of my mind of the end of the Snyder era and the launch of the James Gunn universe. There's a lot of story to tell there, I think. [00:41:25] Speaker C: Yeah. Wow. Okay. You got me here. You got me here. [00:41:30] Speaker B: Would you read that, Victor? [00:41:32] Speaker C: Day one. I'll just take a personal leave off at work and gonna read a book. [00:41:40] Speaker B: Okay. Maybe. Maybe I'll look into that then. [00:41:42] Speaker C: Yeah. Yeah. That would be something that. Wow, I don't even know what you could read there. You know, I don't even, I don't even have the words. I just lost my words. That's how much I love DC universe. [00:41:59] Speaker B: Well, listen, it might be, it might be a while before it happens, so I can wait. These books take time. These books take time. [00:42:06] Speaker C: Even if I'll be the only one to read it, I love it. [00:42:10] Speaker B: I'll write it directly to you, no problem. [00:42:14] Speaker C: Works for me. Wow. Thank you so much for this talk. [00:42:19] Speaker B: For this, of course. This was great. Good questions, man. I really appreciate them. [00:42:25] Speaker A: Thank you for listening. You can find the companion article for this [email protected], where we cover films, television, live shows, books, comics, and all things nerdy in the cosmos. Have a great day.

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