Action hero Bruce Willis tells us all about new comic book adaptation Red…
Frank (Bruce Willis), Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), and Victoria (Helen Mirren) used to be the CIA’s top agents – but the secrets they know just made them the Agency’s top targets. Now framed for assassination, they must use all of their collective cunning, experience and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive. To stop the operation, the team embarks on an impossible, cross-country mission to break into the top-secret CIA headquarters, where they will uncover one of the biggest conspiracies and cover-ups in government history.
Here’s what star Bruce Willis had to tell us about Red, a film that combines action with adventure, mystery, suspense and comedy.
“I don’t see anyone who’s is reported to be retired in this film that wasn’t sexy and hot and romantic and funny.”
It’s been great to see the Bruce Willis action movie come back; what do you think it is about now that makes it the right time for what you do?
I always question whether it’s the right time for anything because I rely a lot of times on my own choices for the stories I’ve had and the scripts that I like. This film was always ambitious right from the very start. It could have just been defined as an action movie or as a comedy or as a romantic comedy and the studio and the story always was about them and stayed there. And it always felt ambitious and everyone you talk to that sees the film, the guys would say “It’s an action movie” and some people say “It’s a comedy” or “It’s a romantic comedy.” But it weaves all these things together in a way that doesn’t move you off of liking the action or liking the comedy or liking the romance or it being a romantic comedy. So it seems creatively I am pleased with this choice.
How did the film evolved from the graphic novel?
I knew these guys wrote a pretty well thought out story that already had drama that showed up long before it ever made the transition from a graphic novel to a film. So we had to take 66 pages of the graphic novel and turn it into a 110 or 115 page script and trying to film 90 minutes of that and it was very ambitious and there would be many days where I’d say “Where are we in the story?” and Robert [Schwentke, director] always knew the answer. He always knew exactly where we were, what we were doing, what this scene was about. But I think this story was already really dramatic and very easy to play and very easy to understand.
This film really explores the concept that there are heroes older than 50 years old and that people over a certain age can actually be viable and relevant. Was that important to you?
The word is certainly used and used in the title of the film — retired, extremely dangerous — and it’s commented on a couple of times, but when you see the film it’s right now. It’s hip. Karl [Urban] and I went at it in one of the toughest fights I’ve ever fought in my life and contact was made. I wasn’t going “I’m a little too old, I can’t fight this hard.” It was definitely crafted along the lines of mixed martial arts. We were throwing each other around, I mean literally, and doing things that are very cool and very right. I don’t see anyone who’s is reported to be retired in this film that wasn’t sexy and hot and romantic and funny.
What is the one thing that drew you to this project?
I was talking with Lorenzo (di Bonaventura) about this I think two years before we started shooting. There was never any way you or I could ever have imagined the richness of what a film could be that has a huge cast of characters in it when all those characters are played by actors you already know and I was already a fan of for a long time. I was excited all the time. What? Who’s? Oh. Just excited. I think we’re just starting to talk about it now. We’re starting to talk about it and get a response and find out how to respond in this film, but one thing that’s going to be talked about a lot more is just the phenomenon of having this many actors and this many movie stars in a film being told, a good story, and telling an ambitious story that’s fun and funny and has action in it and is very satisfying.
At this stage in your career and your life, is there anything that still scares you?
It’s my favorite part of making movies. There are lots of different parts of moviemaking that I take part in and that’s talking about the project prior to the time they turn the camera on and doing work after the film’s been made and talking about it afterwards and participating in the marketing of it and getting the word out there. My favorite part is the making of it. I’m scared every day. I keep thinking that somebody’s going to throw me the ball I’m going to go “Oh wow, oh god, I just messed that up.” It’s not fear so much as excitement and not that thrill of you have to create something out of 115 typewritten pages and make it be human and lifelike. I am afraid of other things. I thought you were just talking about filmmaking. There’s that kind of fear. I’m afraid of a lot of other things in the world. I think I’m much more afraid of making a mistake in raising my daughters than I would be of any work that I do as an actor. It’s a much higher scale of fear, raising kids.
Red is scheduled for theatrical release on October 15 (USA) / October 22 (UK)