‘Fortress’ director reflects on working with Bruce Willis [Exclusive]

bruce willis fortress
Courtesy of Lionsgate Pictures

James Cullen Bressack, the director of the forthcoming Bruce Willis action flick Fortress, gave We Got This Covered an inside look into the collaboration process with a star who has helmed some of the most beloved action films of all time, including The Fifth Element, the Die Hard movies, and 12 Monkeys.

In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Bressack explained what it was like working with the legendary actor in a film. Bressack was particularly excited for audiences to see Willis utilized in such a prominent role as one of the movie’s main characters, especially for newer audiences more accustomed to seeing him in smaller cameo roles.

“I think he’s much more throughout this movie than I think people are used to with his recent films. Like Bruce is like one of the main characters in this, he’s throughout the entire film. And he has like some really substantial scenes in this film. So I’m excited for people to see what he does.”

The film centers around an adult son, played by Jesse Metcalfe, visiting his estranged father, played by Willis, in his Puerto Rican retirement home — asking him for a monetary favor to help inject new life into his failing cryptocurrency business. But all is not what it seems at the facility, as a band of armed criminals connected to the retired officer’s past infiltrates the compound.

Bressack, who also directed Willis in the film Survive the Game earlier this year, said he and Willis “worked better together the second time,” now that he’d learned how to work with Willis and engage with his particular communication style. In fact, Bressack said he prefers to work with the same actors in many projects, in order to not have to “re-learn” a new person’s style.

“I was really excited to work with Bruce this second time,” Bressack said, adding that he was “very happy” with the actor’s performance in Fortress. “He’s funny and heartfelt in this movie.”

In fact, far from the gruff exterior presented in some of the action romps Willis stars in, Bressack said the actor loves to crack wise with him.

“Bruce likes to laugh, so he and I joked around a lot,” he said.

Fortress will receive a limited theatrical release and on video on demand on Dec. 17.

Note: This is the second article in a series from our interview with James Cullen Bressack; check back for more installments in the coming days.

About the author

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'