Director M. Night Shyamalan is paying tribute to actor Bruce Willis, who he directed four times from 1999 to 2019.
In a new interview, M. Night Shyamalan praised Bruce Willis as a man of the people that was also one ripe for admiration from some of the biggest directors working today and one to encourage creative freedom. “He is kind of this blue collar hero that…I grew up with, and not just for me but for Quentin [Tarantino] and Wes [Anderson], and you name it, Fifth Element. Every time, he took risks and just jumped in, and when he believed in you, he was just behind you, and would be like the muscle behind you to go ‘Hey, go for it.’”
Shyamalan also recalled one particular situation while filming his first collaboration with Bruce Willis, 1999’s The Sixth Sense that initially frightened him but turned into a fond memory. “On the first Friday…they said ‘Bruce Willis wants to talk to you in his trailer,’ I was like ‘Oh my God!’ I was twenty-whatever and I was like ‘Oh no. He’s gonna yell at me.’ I went over…and he was like a star and I’m this goofy Indian kid. [He said] ‘I’ve only felt this one other time, what you made me feel…with Pulp Fiction and Quentin.’ And I was like, ‘Thanks, sir!’…And I would like skip down the sidewalk! He was that guy. It was tough to get on his good side, but once you did, he was your big brother and just fought for you in any circumstance.”
Earlier this year, it was announced that Bruce Willis would be retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, a condition which greatly limits one’s ability to speak or write. Acknowledging the reputation and legacy of Willis, the Razzies rescinded their rather insulting Worst Bruce Willis Performance in a 2021 Movie “honor”, citing the actor’s disorder.
While Bruce Willis has retired from acting–leaving behind a plethora of terrific performances (and around two dozen movies in just the past few years)–M. Night Shyamalan has kept fairly busy, serving as an executive producer on Servant and directing this year’s Knock at the Cabin.
What is your favorite collaboration between M. Night Shyamalan and Bruce Willis? What makes it stand out? Let us know below!