When Kevin Smith worked with Bruce Willis on the set of Live Free or Die Hard (2007), their relationship was nearly perfect. Both hailing from New Jersey (though Willis spent his first two years in Germany), the two stars got along swimmingly and even kept in touch after production had ended. Their newfound friendship led to another project together: the comedy Cop Out (2010).
Both have made headlines for their surprising behaviors. Smith is known for his heavy stoner habits and over-the-top fanboying - even his friendship with Ben Affleck has fallen under scrutiny. Willis, who boasts a decades-long career of lucrative box office hits (which has afforded him the wherewithal to buy a town in Idaho), has developed a reputation for his notable feuds over the years.
When Willis and Smith reunited as lead actor and director, things quickly fell apart. Their conflicting creative visions soon clashed and led to yet another noteworthy on-set feud. What does Kevin Smith think of Bruce Willis now? And how does Willis feel about Smith? Well, let's just say there's been a lot of profanity and name-calling. Let's investigate the development of the Smith/Willis feud with this timeline of their beef.
Willis Was Allegedly Not Cooperative During The Film Promotion
Not only did issues arise on set, but they also emerged during the making of promotional materials for the film. According to Smith, Willis refused to take pictures for the movie poster. In the end, the graphic designers had to Photoshop Willis's image next to Tracy Morgan's photos.
Smith later shared that Morgan helped to keep him sane through all of the drama, saying, "Tracy Morgan, I would lay down in traffic for. Were it not for Tracy, I might've [offed] myself or someone else in the making of that movie."
In addition, he referred to Morgan as the only "really funny guy in the movie."
After A Confrontation With Willis, Smith Punched Through A Wall Three Times
In one particular interaction with Willis, Smith reportedly became so agitated that he later lost his temper. Recalling the experience on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2012, Smith said they had completed a take, but Willis called Smith over to state that they weren't done yet.
Smith made an off-hand comment saying, "Okay, everybody, hold on one second. I'm going to go talk to the director."
His remark triggered Willis, who said, "What did you say?" Willis asked Smith to clear the set, and once they were alone, the action star supposedly asked, "Do you want to take a swing at me?"
Afterward, Smith left for his trailer and, in his anger, used his fist to hit his bathroom wall, creating three holes.
Willis Didn't Show Up For The Wrap Party, And Smith Had Some Choice Words For Him
After pushing through months of on-set conflicts between Smith and Willis, the production finally came to a close. Willis was notably absent from the Cop Out wrap party, however, which is unusual for a lead star. Smith allegedly gave a toast at the party stating, "I want to thank everyone who worked on the film, except for Bruce Willis... who is a [real jerk]!"
A spokesperson for Willis later stated that his absence was due to a prior engagement, not bad blood:
The only reason Mr. Willis was not at the wrap party for the film is that he was in Los Angeles taking part in a press junket and press activities for his movie Surrogate.
Smith Has Talked Openly With Many Media Outlets About His Disappointing Experience
Smith maintained a low-key stance about the making of Cop Out during the film promotion. However, years later, he became more open about his time working with Willis. He shared his general disappointment about the production of Cop Out on blogs, live shows, and various podcasts.
Not only was Smith upset about Willis's behavior, but he believed the quality of the film suffered because of the action star's attitude. He explained on Marc Maron's podcast:
It was difficult. I've never been involved in a situation like that where one component is not in the box at all. It was [really] soul-crushing. I mean, a lot of people are gonna be like, "Oh, you're just trying to blame the movie on him." No, but I had no... help from this dude whatsoever.