Deadline exclusively reported actor Bruce Willis had “dropped out” of the new yet-untitled Allen’s picture, blaming the departure on scheduling: “Willis’ plan to work with Allen was hobbled by his other plan to take the Broadway stage in the adaptation of the Stephen King bestseller and movie classic Misery.”
But it’s increasingly sounding like the star’s PR machine is involved, since photos of Willis on Allen’s set, nattily attired in period garb, have spred all over as Willis start shooting.
This is not the first time Allen let go a good actor.
flavorwire adds that Allen famously dismissed Michael Keaton from The Purple Rose of Cairo ten days into production, starting over with Jeff Daniels as the male lead; he also recast Emily Lloyd with Juliette Lewis for his 1992 film Husbands and Wives. And for 1987’s September, he replaced Christopher Walken with Sam Shepard a few days into shooting—then after the film was completed, scrapped the whole thing and started over, recasting Maureen O’Sullivan with Elaine Stritch, Shepard with Sam Waterston, Denholm Elliot with Jack Warden, and moving Elliot into Charles Durning’s role.
If you add to the story Allen’s free style director then there it is. In an interview Allen said, “I’ve worked with tremendous people, and I don’t direct them a lot. I try to speak to them as infrequently as possible, you know. I don’t see the point in hiring a great actor… and then hovering over them and bothering them. They have a good instinct for what they do. They read the part. If they have any questions, they ask me. Very often they don’t ask me anything. They understand what it is. They do it, and they do it very well.”
Willis was one of the first actors to be set, in a cast that features Blake Lively, Jesse Eisenberg, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart and Jeannie Berlin.