Over the past week, more and more articles have surfaced about Hollywood icon Bruce Willis. Willis is arguably one of the most famous actors of his generation, starring in hits such as ‘The Sixth Sense’, ‘Die Hard’ and even the animated movie ‘Over the Hedge’. Willis’ career spans decades, and his latest announcement rocked the film industry and viewers alike.
Willis’ family came out with his aphasia diagnosis because it got to the point that he can’t keep hiding it anymore. Aphasia is a condition usually resulting from a stroke or head trauma. The result is an inability to understand or formulate language. The affected person essentially loses the ability to communicate. For obvious reasons, this is an incredibly difficult condition to have as an actor whose whole job is to memorize and recite lines. “Because of this and with great consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that meant so much to him,” his family said. The news of his retirement is undeniably shocking but completely understandable.
Many actors who have worked with Willis over the past few years have since admitted to noticing signs of his decline. The scripts were changed to ensure that Willis had fewer and fewer lines. His lines were then transmitted to him via an earpiece as he could no longer retain them naturally. The biggest problem amidst this reportedly happened about two years ago when Willis missed a prop gun on set. Although this may seem insignificant since it was a prop rather than an actual firearm, this mistake could have seriously injured someone. As seen in the incident with Alec Baldwin just a few months ago, prop guns can be incredibly dangerous and even kill people. Following this incident, it is clear that this is a problem concerning both the safety of Willis and that of those around him.
People in the industry have seen how much Willis has changed from the man he was since his diagnosis. While the filmmakers didn’t want to discriminate against Willis, they also didn’t want to disappoint him after such a successful career. He’s a respected and accomplished actor, and no one wanted his current issues to affect his public perception. His condition got to the point where it was hard to ignore at best, and Willis just seemed like a different person. The filmmakers didn’t want to put him in movies and make him look bad, so some of them had to make the difficult choice to end their professional relationship. This may or may not have led to his eventual retirement announcement, but it seems to be the best course of action for Willis and his family.
Aphasia attacked the part of Willis’ life that made him who he is. It is impossible to imagine the impact this has on him and those around him. While actors often share much of their personal lives with the public, situations like these have audiences wondering what else lurks in Hollywood. It seems much of the industry was aware of Willis’ condition while the public had no knowledge of it. For this reason, the audience needs to be more understanding and empathetic towards the actors. No one really knows what is going on in their life, and that should be respected.