Bruce Willis‘ lawyer has insisted his client ‘wanted to work’ and was ‘able to do so’ as he addressed a bombshell expose alleging producer Randall Emmett continued making movies with the star despite his deteriorating health.
‘My client continued working after his medical diagnosis because he wanted to work and was able to do so, just like many others diagnosed with aphasia who are capable of continuing to work,’ Willis’ attorney, Marty Singer, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, which published the expose on Thursday.
‘Because Mr. Willis appeared in those films, they could get financed. That resulted in literally thousands of people having jobs, many during the COVID-19 Pandemic.’
The expose, which makes an array of claims about Emmett, alleges Willis made five more movies with Emmett in the 15 months after filming Midnight In The Switchgrass, where his health issues were apparent.
According to the LA Times piece, Willis struggled to film a scene in September 2020 which saw him kick open a door.
Emmett was directing the film and attempted to help him get the scene right.
However, when that didn’t work, Emmett departed the set ‘in frustration’, according to the LA Times.
‘Did I do something wrong?’ the Die Hard actor allegedly asked crew members.
Lala Kent, Emmett’s then-fiance, recalled Emmett calling her in tears over the situation.
‘”I can’t do this anymore,”‘ Kent alleges he told her in a phone call overheard by two others. ‘”It’s just so sad. Bruce can’t remember any of his lines. He doesn’t know where he is.”‘
Emmett denied the conversation with his ex or being aware of ‘any decline in Mr. Willis’ health.’
Willis’ health issues were an ‘open secret’ on film sets at the time, according to the LA Times.
‘Our stunt coordinator mentioned he was struggling,’ Midnight in the Switchgrass property master, Alicia Haverland, told the LA Times. ‘Our first AD saw he was struggling. You would have to be blind to not see him struggling.’
The Times reports the actor made a total of two dozen films with Emmett’s firm Emmett/Furla Oasis since 2006 – ‘and the pace of the output heightened as Willis’ health declined.’
Willis’ family announced his retirement from acting due to his diagnosis with aphasia back in March.
Willis’ disorder is ‘a condition that affects your ability to communicate’ that ‘can affect your speech, as well as the way you write and understand both spoken and written language,’ according to The Mayo Clinic.
The condition could occur following a head injury or stroke, or can be a predecessor to a brain tumor or Alzheimer’s disease.
Patients who are living with the condition are typically treated with speech therapy and taught ways to communicate non-verbally.
His wife Emma Willis, ex-wife Demi Moore, 59, and five daughters Rumer, 33, Scout, 30, Tallulah, 28, Mabel Ray, 10, and Evelyn, eight, issued a joint statement via Instagram March 30 announcing his aphasia diagnosis.
They said that the Hollywood icon ‘has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities.
‘As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him. This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support.’
They continued: ‘We are moving through this as a strong family unit, and wanted to bring his fans in because we know how much he means to you, as you do to him. As Bruce always says, “Live it up” and together we plan to do just that.’
Willis’ career spanned nearly 45 years and saw him take on iconic roles in films like Pulp Fiction, Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and many more projects.