The list of celebrities sending love and support to Bruce Willis is only getting longer. The Die Hard star’s family announced the heartbreaking news earlier this week that he’s retiring from acting after a diagnosis of aphasia. Yesterday, Sylvester Stallone added his name to the chorus of those offering warm sentiments to Willis.
Sylvester Stallone posted his message to his official Instagram account on Thursday. The photos show Stallone and Willis together over the years, dating back at least to Willis starring in the first Die Hard, if not earlier. In the accompanying caption, Stallone wrote, “We go back a long way , praying for the best for you and your wonderful family …” You can see the post below.
With 1988’s Die Hard, Bruce Willis threw his hat into a ring that at the time was dominated by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Willis’ portrayal of John McClane didn’t have the same larger-than-life, superhuman element that the films of Stallone and Schwarzenegger did. Die Hard‘s success made its star a new rival of both Rambo and Terminator and it changed the landscape of the action genre; steering it away from the ’80s mentality that if your hero didn’t look like Conan the Barbarian, he wouldn’t work in an action movie.
When Bruce Willis joined the cast of 2010’s The Expendables, it finally brought together the big three action stars of the late ’80s and ’90s — Willis, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger — in a single film. Willis reprised the role of Mr. Church for the 2012 follow-up The Expendables 2, but he proved a no-show for 2014’s The Expendables 3 and the circumstances surrounding his absence involved a public feud between him and Stallone. According to an August 2013 story from The Hollywood Reporter, Willis’ The Expendables 3 contract was $3 million for a 4-day shoot, and he demanded $1 million more. As a result, Willis was let go from the film and replaced with Harrison Ford. Stallone let the world know about that situation in a pair of tweets, the second of which called Willis “greedy and lazy.” You can see those tweets below.
At some point between those August 2013 tweets and the following November, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis apparently had a conversation. It isn’t known exactly what was said between the two, but Stallone tweeted that the two had mended fences and that the feud was his “mistake.” You can see that tweet below.
It is tempting to speculate that the peace forged between Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis had something to do with the latter actor’s condition. There’s no evidence to support that. However here are at the very least reports coming out that the deterioration of Willis’ cognitive abilities have been known about among the entertainment professionals he’s worked with for longer than previously realized. The Los Angeles Times published a story earlier this week claiming that Willis had been showing signs of not being aware of his surroundings while working on set for various productions at least as far back as 2020. While filming Hard Kill, Willis reportedly fired a gun early twice in a row. During filming of the upcoming White Elephant, he reportedly said at one point, “I know why you’re here, and I know why you’re here, but why am I here?” There were also reports that for most of his recent films, his action scenes have been completed by a body double, and that in many cases his lines have been fed to him by a second actor through an earpiece.