The gift of gab is one of Kevin Smith’s strongest. Though, like so many of us, he’s no stranger to stepping in it. While Smith spent the 2000s regaling audiences with his bizarre experiences developing Superman Lives with producer Jon Peters, he spent the 2010s complaining about Bruce Willis.
Smith directed the 2010 Bruce Willis-Tracy Morgan action-comedy Cop Out, a long-gestating project that used to litter the pages of fan-focused gossip blogs, like Ain’t It Cool News. Oh, the disappointment when the title was changed from A Couple Of Dicks. Since then, Smith has been very vocal about how difficult he found directing Willis. Now, he’d like to take some of that back.
Following the announcement of Willis’ retirement due to aphasia diagnosis, Smith apologized on Twitter, writing he feels “like an asshole” over the comments he made more than a decade ago.
“Long before any of the ‘Cop Out’ stuff, I was a big Bruce Willis fan, so this is really heartbreaking to read,” Smith wrote. “He loved to act and sing, and the loss of that has to be devastating for him. I feel like an asshole for my petty complaints from 2010. So sorry to [Bruce Willis] and his family.”
In 2011, Smith appeared on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast to throw shade at Willis’ attitude on set. Though he withheld the actor’s name, Smith said, “One guy wouldn’t even sit for a fuckin’ poster shoot.” He continued:
Everyone knows who it is. Put it this way, remember the really funny guy in the movie? It ain’t him. He’s a fuckking dream. Tracy Morgan, I would lay down in traffic for. Were it not for Tracy, I might’ve killed myself or someone else in the making of that movie.
After the episode’s release, he continued to bad mouth Willis, calling him “a passionless piece of shit” on Opie & Anthony—though, being on Opie & Anthony makes this a self-own.
Yesterday, Willis’ daughter announced the actor’s retirement on Instagram, saying he was “stepping away” from the career. Aphasia is a cognitive disorder, usually caused by a stroke, affecting the patient’s ability to communicate and understand speech.