The Expendables packs in nearly every major action star of the past several decades, but there is one noticeable absence in the later films. It’s an actor famous for being difficult on sets and someone that creator Sylvester Stallone called “greedy and lazy.” So, who is it?
John McClane from Die Hard can take on a city full of black-ops agents, but he doesn’t want to work that hard on a movie set. At least, that’s according to multiple sources over many years.
Willis appeared in The Expendables and The Expendables 2 as CIA agent Mr. Church. He sent the team of action heroes on their first mission. He was going to appear in the third installment. But producers abruptly fired him after he demanded $1 million a day. His contract was for $3 million for 4 days of work. He wanted another million or he said he wouldn’t show up, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Producers replaced him with Harrison Ford because Han Solo plays ball.
In a rare moment of Hollywood transparency, Sylvester Stallone, the lead actor and creator of The Expendables, called Willis out on Twitter. Rocky Balboa said Willis is “greedy and lazy.”
Stallone later retracted that comment after he met with Willis privately. He apologized and called the 66-year-old actor a “stand up guy.”
“I’ve worked in all sorts of films, but the action movies are the ones that generate the most revenue,” he said. “I like to earn lots of money but I do all types: small productions, mega-projects, medium-sized, even science fiction.”
Bruce Willis Has a Long History of Annoying Co-Stars, Directors
It’s not just The Expendables. Willis’ feuds date back to the beginning of his career.
Before Die Hard, Willis was a comedy star on Moonlighting. During his years on the 1980s television show, Willis made plenty of enemies including co-star Cybill Sheperd. They famously hated each other. But according to co-star Curtis Armstrong, they were both divas on the set. In his memoirs Revenge of the Nerd, Armstrong wrote that it got so bad between them that they stopped looking at each other during filming, forcing editors to fix it in post.
Another infamous incident happened during filming on the 2010 comedy Cop Out. Writer/director Kevin Smith said Bruce Willis was lazy, disruptive, and just awful to work with.
“Cop Out could have been a great experience if it were not for the fact that I met true darkness in Bruce Willis,” he wrote in his book, Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash. “I love making movies, and he does not, at all.”
When asked about the comment, Willis said he wouldn’t call out Smith in public, but he said the director was a “whiner.”