Saturday, August 10, 2013

Passion VS Paycheck: Bruce Willis

It was announced that Oscar winner Mel Gibson and 13th Warrior star Antonio Banderas have officially boarded the third chapter in Sylvester Stallone's third franchise, The Expendables.  You know, the flimsy, foreign pre-sale funded, wanna be modern day Dirty Dozen with Stallone in the lead?  Where current, aging and forgotten action stars show up for a shot in the arm/career?  The first two films have been a who's who of 80's and 90's action heroes kicking, punching, stabbing, shooting, exploding, one lining and bromancing their way to half a billion dollars in worldwide grosses.

Stallone. Statham. Li. Schwarzenegger. Rourke. Roberts. Austin.
Daniels. Lundgren. Couture. Crews. Adkins. Van Damme. Willis. Norris.

Wesley Snipes was one of the first new additions Stallone announced along with Jackie Chan for part III.  Seagal was rumored to be in talks but nothing has materialized.  Besides, he's too fat to be in the flick, everyone else is still in fighting shape (naturally or not).  This week heralded the surprising news that Indiana Jones himself, Harrison Ford, was joining the ranks while Bruce Willis was going AWOL.

The reason?  Money.  Willis was offered $3 million for 4 days of work in Bulgaria but Hudson the Hawk wanted $1 million a day.  Stallone and company stepped back and brought in Harrison Ford within 72 hours.  Sly then took to Twitter to publicly refer to Willis as lazy and greedy.

Hey, maybe living it up Bruce Willy Style is expensive, ok?

It's quite a shock considering Willis and Stallone have been friends and business partners since the 90's where they headlined action films and Planet Hollywood openings alike. When Stallone was on Letterman promoting Rambo IV, Willis showed up to hang out just to support his friend.  And when Stallone needed some high-wattage names to sell the first Expendables on, Willis and Arnold provided a brief but memorable cameo as a favor.

Is this a sign of Hollywood greed at it's best?  Of how out of touch celebrities are?  Is Bruce Willis the ballsiest mofo on the planet or just out of his mind?

To me, it's a simple case of Passion VS Paycheck.  Willis is no stranger to Hollywood beef.  He's clashed with Antoine Fuqua on set, lobbed online insults at Michael Bay and been torn to shreds by Kevin Smith in print and at live events.  Yet Looper director Rian Johnson sings his praises.  Probably because on Looper, Willy gave a shit and it showed in his performance.  Which to this viewer was his best in years; a somber and thoughtful character fighting to save the love of his life through extreme actions.  Meanwhile, his performance in Smith's Cop Out wasn't anything audiences would be talking about after leaving the theater.

Where it might seem greedy to some working stiffs, I see his outlandish demand as an easy way to say NO.  He's done Sly a favor already and appeared in the first two films, cementing their place in cinema history as the action star retirement home.  It's also shooting in Bulgaria, do you know how long it takes to get from LA to Sofia?  Expedia tells me 14 hours.  Basically, I think The Bruce is just too old and rich for this shit.

Watch Bruce Willy crash the Expendables panel at Comic-Con 2010:

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