Ever since making his small screen debut in the 1980s comedy-drama series Moonlighting opposite Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis has had an incredible acting career. The 66-year-old has appeared in over 70 films, gaining widespread recognition as an action hero after his portrayal of John McClane in the Die Hard franchise.
For about two decades, Bruce Willis was one of the biggest movies stars in the world starring in blockbuster hits including Armageddon, Pulp Fiction, The Fifth Element, The Sixth Sense, and The Whole Nine Yards. Although his star has faded over the years, due to his roles in various direct-to-video action films, Willis is still a cinematic icon. His roles in M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass in 2019, Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake in 2018, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For in 2014 are a testament to his acting ability.
But even with all his enviable success, Bruce Willis still has some professional regrets regarding two big movie roles he passed on. The actor made the revelation during a 2007 Q&A with Ain’t It Cool News. The site’s readers were allowed to ask the Die Hard star whatever they liked, and his responses were pretty candid.
His first missed role regret is passing on the opportunity to play Sam Wheat in 1990’s Ghost, a role which was eventually made famous by Patrick Swayze. As it turns out, Bruce Willis didn’t believe the concept of a romantic relationship between a ghost and a living person could work. He passed on the part but after seeing the result, wishes he hadn’t.
If he had accepted the part, Bruce Willis would have also had the chance to work alongside his former wife Demi Moore, who played Sam’s grieving girlfriend Molly Jensen. However, the actor would eventually get to explore the complex relationship between a living person and a ghost in M. Night Shymalan’s The Sixth Sense opposite Haley Joel Osment.
The action star’s second big regret is opting to skip on 1996’s The English Patient. Bruce Willis would have played the part of Canadian intelligence operative David “Moose” Caravaggio, which went to Willem Dafoe. Willis says he passed on the film after being talked out of working with director Anthony Minghella by his agent. An unhappy Willis fired his agent shortly after.
The English Patient went on to win nine Oscars, including Best Picture, and also starred Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, and Kristin Scott Thomas. Bruce Willis has never won or been nominated for an Academy Award, leaving him to wonder if the role could have given him that opportunity.
Interestingly, there are a few other starring roles Bruce Willis has passed on. This includes parts in movies like Training Day, Man on Fire, Ocean’s Eleven, and Get Shorty. Although these films, regardless of their success, don’t seem to bother him as much.
Bruce Willis can currently be seen starring alongside Jamie King in Out of Death, an American crime thriller film directed by Mike Burns. The story follows retired police officer Jack Harris, who has to protect his niece and an innocent woman from corrupt cops after the woman took a video of a policeman killing a drug dealer. The film premiered in the theatres and on-demand on July 16, 2021.