Bruce Willis had a long and nasty feud with director and writer Kevin Smith, after the two made the comedy movie Cop Out together. Willis is now officially retired from acting following a diagnosis of aphasia, but the action movie star’s legacy and career is still part of the public conversation.
Willis is best known for thriller movies like Die Hard, as well as M Night Shyamalan movies The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. He’s also made some great science fiction movies (like 12 Monkeys and The Fifth Element) and has shared collaborations with Wes Anderson.
Something that Willis didn’t do so much of during his career was comedy movies. And, one of the instances where he did branch out into the genre with Cop Out, was a pretty big failure both on and behind the screen. Cop Out, starring Willis and directed by Kevin Smith, was released in 2010 to overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics.
But it wasn’t just critics who didn’t enjoy the movie, and Smith and Willis’s experience of working together sounds absolutely nightmarish. Speaking with CinemaBlend, Smith gave his perspective on working with Willis.
He said, “I was going at it like, ‘Bruce, do it like this.’ I was directing Bruce the way I direct everybody else. And Bruce was like, ‘I’ve been acting like Bruce Willis for 25 years, do you really think there’s anything you’re going to tell me that I don’t know,”
Then later on, while on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Smith said that one disagreement in particular about how things were done left Willis asking Smith, “Do you want to take a swing at me?” Subsequently, in response to Smith’s comments Willis gave his own side of the story to Time Out.
He said, “Poor Kevin. He’s just a whiner, you know? We had some personal issues about how we approached work. I don’t have an answer for him. I’m never going to call him out and lay him out in public. Sometimes you just don’t get along.”
Following Willis’s retirement, Smith returned to the conversation to apologise about his former remarks in an attempt to smooth things over. Referring to his comments, he said “I feel like an asshole for my petty comments from 2010.”
Colleagues don’t necessarily have to get along, but it seems like in the case of Cop Out the feud had a serious impact on what went on during the production of the movie.
For more movie fun, check out our guide to every major new movie in 2023, as well as our picks for the best movies of all time.