Though Bruce Willis‘ star has faded a little over the last few years due to his habit of appearing in awful straight-to-VOD movies, he’s still a cinematic icon. Films like Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, The Fifth Element, and The Sixth Sense have stood the test of time. But Willis also has a few regrets and there are two big roles he passed on that he wishes he’d accepted.
The first is the lead role in 1990’s Ghost. This romantic drama sees lead Sam Wheat dying and discovering that there’s life beyond death, going on to haunt his grieving partner Molly Jensen via pottery-based romance. Willis was offered the part but didn’t think a relationship between a ghost and a woman would work, so said no. Patrick Swayze took the role and it became a huge hit, causing Willis to wish he’d taken it.
Of course, Willis somewhat made up for this with his supernatural antics in The Sixth Sense, so he eventually got this desire to play a ghost out of his system.
The other is Canadian spy David “Moose” Caravaggio from Anthony Minghella’s 1996 movie The English Patient. Willis declined the part on the advice of his agent, who warned him against working with Minghella. I don’t know what this warning consisted of, but it was enough to convince Willis to say no. The part went to Willem Dafoe and The English Patient went on to win nine Oscars. Willis promptly fired his agent.
Other movies he could have starred in include Training Day, Man on Fire, Oceans Eleven, and Get Shorty, though it seems that they pale in comparison to his annoyance at skipping out on Ghost and The English Patient.
Bruce Willis is now 66 and can still bring it if he tries. I hope he decides to stop making the zero effort trashy movies he’s increasingly known for and goes back to more meaty dramatic parts as I’ve always enjoyed watching him on screen.
Then again, after a long and busy career, it’s easy to see why turning up on set half-asleep, mumbling a couple of lines, and walking away with a fat paycheque is so attractive.