A lot of movie stars have come and gone since 1988. But for all the Brian Bosworths, Dolph Lundgrens, and even Arnold Schwarzeneggers of the world, there is only one movie star who commanded huge salaries in the early 90’s and still commands them today — Bruce Willis. And for one very good reason: we still line up to see his movies.
What gives this one guy so much staying power? Why do we still love action movie posters that feature a guy nearing 60? Here are 9 very compelling reasons why.
1. Sticking to a type.
While we’ve watched Will Smith transform into Ali and Tom Cruise bawl his eyes out at his father’s bedside in Magnolia, Bruce Willis has stayed far closer to a singlular personality, role after role. While John McClane does not appear in The Sixth Sense, it’s not a drastically different performance. But doesn’t that show a lack of range? I bet you $2.5 billion no one cares. (That’s how much money Bruce Willis movies have made over the years.)
When you’re trying to build a brand, experts will tell you to put out good content frequently and regularly. This should actually be called “The Bruce Willis Method.” Willis has put out at least a movie a year with little to no holes in his resume. It’s not all great, (I watched Tears of the Sun) but he never lets a bad experience slow him down.
3. Staying out of the tabloids.
While Schwarzenegger, Cruise, and Travolta have taken serious hits to their careers, Willis has kept clear of big time negative publicity.
4. He can act!
Go figure — that’s still important. While lesser B action stars (Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal) have been laughed off the big screen for their less-than-convincing performances, Willis is an actor first and a martial artist second.
During the beginning of the Iraq war, he offered $1 million to the soldier who caught Saddam Hussein. It turns out there are rules preventing rewards for that sort of thing, but you gotta give the guy credit for his patriotism. His persona outside of acting has matched that of his most beloved characters.
7. He deliberately avoids Twitter.
How could the surly John McClane, or Korben Dallas, or Butch Coolidge tell us what they’re thinking in 160 characters? They can’t. He’s too busy shooting at someone. Willis might be one of the few celebrities who’s filmic persona is enhanced by avoiding twitter.
8. A generous tipper.
The multi-millionaire hasn’t forgotten his roots, when he was struggling as a bartender and waiter pounding the pavement from audition to audition. He still carries a reputation for tipping well. Nice to know someone on that level of fame can still hold on to where he came from.
9. He has openly said he’d never again work with Michael Bay.
If only the rest of the action actors of the world would say the same, we wouldn’t have to sit through Transformers 17.