With 61 films under his belt, it's safe to say that Bruce Willis is a bona fide Hollywood star. But despite his long resume, the 57-year-old doesn't think he's all that great at his craft. "I don't think I'm very good at it," he says in the new issue of Esquire. "But I like doing it." In fact, the gig that made him a household name in the mid-'80s, playing a wiseguy detective for five seasons on "Moonlighting" opposite Cybil Shepherd, "wasn't acting," Willis says. "It was people telling me, 'Let's create a character who is you, so you can play him the way you are. The guy you are at night.' It was fun. Fun. It wasn't tough, although I claimed it was."
Willis may not have any faith in his acting abilities, but producers and directors certainly do. He currently has five movies coming out this year, beginning with Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," sequels to "G.I. Joe" and "The Expendables, "The Cold Light of Day" with Sigourney Weaver, and the sci-fi thriller, "Looper," which Willis describes as "better than anything I've ever done." Written by "Brick" director Rian Johnson, it stars Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the older and younger version of a time-traveling corporate assassin. "Rian did an amazing thing," boasts Willis. "He conceived an original story … It's more than an original story. It's a story people are going to talk about, and see twice. And argue about. I was arguing with myself about the story when I read it the first time."
When promotion wraps on all five films, Willis' next project is yet another installment in the "Die Hard" franchise, which made its debut in 1989. Although he claims he's not keen on sequels — despite the fact he's been in a lot — he realizes it's a sign of the times in Hollywood. "I got into the business before there ever were such things," he explains. "We just said, 'Let's make another one.' We did that with 'Die Hard.' 'Let's make another John McClane movie.' Now they don't want to make a movie unless there are two sequels ready to go."
But one thing Willis is more than happy to have sequels of are his children. With Demi Moore, he has three grown daughters Rumer, 23, Scout, 20, and Tallulah, 18, and with new wife, former model Emma Heming, he has a daughter, Mabel Ray, born on April 1. When the Esquire writer suggests that as a father of four his "fun" days must be behind him, Willis is quick to correct. "Now I'm fun, just with fewer people. I'm in love with my wife and my kids. I require very little. Friends come over, the kids come over when they can. We eat dinner. And I'm happy to play along with their momentum. I save it for them."
As for the lesson he's learned with all that estrogen surrounding him, Willis shares it's resisting the urge to speak. "It's my No. 1 rule," he says. "It's more about being a father. I'd rather hear what they have to say. You learn more by listening." Willis also divulges a characteristic that seems a little shocking coming from the sometimes-icy, brooding action star. "I make them laugh. You gotta do the drool-take, gotta make them see that goofiness is still safe. You have to make them laugh at you."
If Willis is actually comical in real life, then he truly is a good actor.
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