Shedding light on the matter. Bruce Willis’ attorney, Martin Singer, responded to accusations that producer Randall Emmett knew about the Sixth Sense actor’s health issues but continued pushing him to work anyway.
“My client continued working after his medical diagnosis because he wanted to work and was able to do so, just like many others diagnosed with aphasia who are capable of continuing to work,” Singer, 70, told the Los Angeles Times for an article published on Thursday, June 30. “Because Mr. Willis appeared in those films, they could get financed. That resulted in literally thousands of people having jobs, many during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
In March, the 67-year-old Die Hard star’s family announced he was retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, a neurological disorder that affects the ability to communicate.
Before his retirement, Willis worked with Emmett, 51, on a number of films, including the producer’s directorial debut, Midnight in the Switchgrass. According to the Los Angeles Times, Emmett told his then-fiancée Lala Kent that the Hard Kill actor was struggling during the movie’s production.
“I can’t do this anymore,” Kent recalled her ex-fiancé telling her in a phone call overheard by two other witnesses. “It’s just so sad. Bruce can’t remember any of his lines. He doesn’t know where he is.”
The Irishman producer denied that he was aware “of any decline in Mr. Willis’ health” in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. The outlet reported that he made five more movies with the Pulp Fiction actor after Midnight in the Switchgrass.
The alleged phone call to Kent took place in September 2020, long before Willis’ health struggles were made public. But according to Alicia Haverland, a property master on Midnight in the Switchgrass, the actor’s condition was an open secret on the film set.
“Our stunt coordinator mentioned he was struggling,” Haverland told the Los Angeles Times. “Our first AD saw he was struggling. You would have to be blind to not see him struggling.”
The outlet reported that multiple crew members witnessed Willis needing significant help to get through scenes, including another actor coaching him on his lines through an earpiece and Emmett miming actions from behind the video monitor.
A rep for Emmett told Us Weekly, “Randall is very proud of the work he and Bruce Willis have done over the last 15 years. In every single movie they have done together, Bruce enjoyed being on set, playing golf, going to dinners, and communing with the crew. If Bruce had not wanted to be on set, he would not have been there. Willis is one of the greatest actors of his time and was sought after by multiple production companies until his recent retirement. Randall counts him among his closest friends.”
In addition to concerns about his working relationship with the Moonlighting actor as his health declined, Emmett also currently faces allegations of abuse against women, employees and business partners. His spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister denied these allegations to the Los Angeles Times. The Silence producer and his company, Emmett/Furla Oasis, currently face nearly a dozen lawsuits, according to the outlet.
The day Willis’ family announced his aphasia diagnosis, Emmett took to Instagram to voice his support for the Moonrise Kingdom actor.
“Bruce and I have worked on over 20 films together. He is a terrific actor and legendary action star, an incredible father, and a close friend. I fully support Bruce and his family during this challenging time and admire him for his courage in battling this incredibly difficult medical condition. Bruce will always be a part of my family,” he captioned a candid photo of him with the action star.