Bruce Willis “wanted to work” and was “capable of continuing to work” after being diagnosed with aphasia.
The 67-year-old star’s family revealed in March that he was “stepping away” from his career as a result of the condition – which is degenerative and affects language and speech – and his lawyer has now hit back at claims the Die Hard star’s frequent collaborator, Midnight in the Switchgrass director Randall Emmett, pushed him to keep working despite his struggles.
Martin Singer told the Los Angeles Times newspaper: “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.”
Anna Szymanska, who worked as Emmett’s assistant until she resigned in February after a year, told the outlet that Bruce was “never alone” during his two days filming Wrong Place, one of his last movies with the Emmett/Furla Oasis production company, and relied on guidance from his associates Stephen J. Eads and Adam Huel Potter, who fed the actor his lines through an earpiece.
Anna said: “He was never alone. When nobody from Bruce’s team was around, the crew would say how sad we were to see him in this state.”
Bruce’s attorney insisted his client should be “commended” for his desire to keep working despite his difficulties.
He said: “[It is similar to] Stevie Wonder having an assistant lead him on stage to perform, or Marlee Matlin’s reliance on a sign language interpreter. My client allegedly relying on Stephen Eads or others to provide certain assistance is in the same vein … It ought to be commended.
“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.
The claims in the Los Angeles Times piece are part of a wider expose of the producer, who is accused of inappropriate behaviour by multiple women, including offering acting roles in return for sexual favours, and forcing assistants to conduct illegal activity on his behalf.
He has denied the claims against him.