It’s no secret that Wes Anderson and Rian Johnson were busy in 2013. Willis starred in many notable wide films in 2013. On the other hand, Willis appeared in movies like A Good Day to Die Hard and Red 2, which were more generic action films. Willis’s potential as a leading man was called into doubt by the project’s dismal box office returns. Would viewers be willing to watch him in anything else on the big screen if they weren’t willing to see him as John McClane?

Willis’ exclusion from high-profile ventures became more troublesome in 2013. Willis returned to his character from the previous two Expendables flicks, Church, for the third instalment. However, Willis demanded a significant number of money for a minimal amount of filming, which sparked a public feud. Willis was subsequently pulled from the franchise, and producer Sylvester Stallone criticised him in the press for his actions. Aside from maintaining his financial viability as an action star, Willis struggled to keep good connections with his fellow 80s action stars.

Two years later, Woody Allen’s Café Society slipped Willis’s fingers. In this case, Willis worked with a famous auteur on something that was not part of the franchise for the first time. It was even possible for Willis to shoot several sequences as his character, captured on camera by paparazzi.

Willis, on the other hand, did not feature in the final cut of Cafe Society. Instead, Willis was replaced by Steve Carell just a few days into filming. Schedule constraints with a Broadway musical were cited as the official reason for Willis’ resignation, while other reports stated he was having trouble memorising his lines. 

Willis began working with Randall Emmett’s projects the same year he left Café Society’s cast. All of these films were made on a very tight budget for the home video market. Willis was paid up to $1 million a week by Emmett and other producers for films like Extraction and Marauders. However, Willis still received a substantial salary, and these small films were permitted to use Willis’ face on their posters.

Major American movie studios have virtually eliminated the mid-budget thrillers and action flicks that Willis starred in as recently as 2009. So after realising that he might earn the same amount of money for his role as Hostage or The Whole Nine Yards in a new film, Willis found another source of income.

Willis’ reputation has been tarnished as a result of the arrangement. Nobody can take Die Hard or Unbreakable away from you when you star in them. At the very least, Hudson Hawk, one of Willis’ most notorious failures during his prime, was released in many theatres and given the impression of professionalism.

As in any Hollywood blockbuster, there is still hope for the film’s protagonists. Willis’s creative audacity was not lost in 2012, and he could easily tap into it again. In addition, even the movie office success of Glass in 2019 shows that Willis doesn’t immediately turn people off in big-screen fare. However, Willis’ narrative is far from done, and he’s currently in the throes of one of his most sad chapters. William Willis’ IMDB page now has 11 ultra low budget, independent action films in post-production or primary photography, so this chapter is not done any time soon.


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