Arts Express: Bruce Willis Spills Details About His CIA Comedic Thriller, Red 2

Current reports about massive domestic spying that have come to light through the Edward Snowden revelations, are no laughing matter. But satire as a cinematic method of choice might be considered a fitting alternative, as in the CIA espionage send-up sequel, Red 2. Bruce Willis, star of Red 2 – along with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich, – as well as the 2010 original Red release, met to talk about his somewhat unusual attraction to both his character Frank Moses and this followup film, directed by Dean Parisot. Who likewise helmed the similarly subversive 2005 economic crisis caper, Fun With Dick And Jane. Here’s Bruce Willis, holding forth on stolen secrets, extreme acting and the job of kissing, dirty diapers, and playing befuddled guys in movies.

How did you go about getting into character a second time around for RED 2?

BRUCE WILLIS: I’ll talk about the romance.

How so?

BW: [Swigging on a bottle of Fuji water] I get to kiss two women in this film. Which I seldom get to do! In some of my other work.

So I get to kiss girls! Um, would you like me to tell you some more things about the film?

Please do…

BW: My character is so befuddled. I like to play befuddled characters that don’t quite know what’s going on.

And you know, a little bit behind in the information, the chain of information.

But I always have fun working. I always have fun goofing around. Because that’s what it feels like, right? I don’t try to take it too seriously.

One of those women, Mary-Louise Parker, said she felt bad slapping you around so much. Should she feel bad?

BW: I was slapped in this film? I get slapped, I was? Oh my goodness, yes! I like that scene.

I get to do something that I seldom get to do in films. And that is, to get that daffy look on my face.

Like I’m just coming out of unconsciousness. Always a fun thing to act! And to do in films.

How come?

BW: Because you never get to do it. Because sometimes directors are very strict about saying the words just right. And like you have to say ‘the’ instead of ‘that.’

But this film is not like that. We get to kind of wing some of the things.

And that scene was particularly – what’s the past tense of winged? We wong it! Alright. I’m not a very good, uh, scholastic English major.

But I did get to have some fun on this film. And that was one of the scenes. And she was…letting me have it!

With Hopkins doing Hitchcock and Michael Douglas taking on Liberace, is there something you’d like to tackle that gets into extreme acting, and a role that nobody would ever expect you to do?

BW: I think I’m very fortunate. I get asked to do a lot of different kinds of things.

And some of them include weapons. Some of them include jokes.

And some of them include, from time to time I get to make out! With the women I’m not married to!

How often does that happen? What about you, do you ever get to, does that ever come up in your job and you go, listen. Today we need you to kiss three of the four women.

And you can choose who they are. Think about it. It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? Are you married?

Um, yeah.

BW: What if you were asked, what if you were asked right now and said, okay. Just lean over and just lay one on me. Or if they lay one on you!

It would add to the day, right? It would be nice, right. Always fun, always fun. Are you blushing?

I am…

BW: Ahh! Alright. Just think if that was your job. Not bad, right? Not bad. Think about it. Just take a second and think, wow.

On a lighter note! How was your marriage, after you made out in this movie with Catherine Zeta-Jones?

BW: Well, my wife is very…I change diapers. It’s very humbling changing diapers! Uh, and I’m happy to be doing it.

Um, it’s just me, you know. It’s just one guy. And about thirty women in the house.

So I don’t win very many arguments! And we don’t really have any arguments.

And nobody gets mad if you have to kiss someone every once in a while. I’ll say, look. It’s right in the script.

It says, now kisses Mary-Louise Parker. Now kisses Catherine Zeta-Jones. Sometimes they were trying to get me to kiss John Malkovich, but I drew the line!

Well, he was in a dress at the end.

BW: He was in a dress! Did you see that? Oh! But John, he is just, you never know what’s gonna happen.

He was like Carmen Miranda.

BW: Carmen Miranda, that’s right!

What about working with Malkovich?

BW: Well, you never know what’s gonna happen when you’re around Malkovich. He makes me laugh all the time. And that’s a very good thing.

And sometimes we actually have to go again. Because we’re laughing so hard! But we kinda get away with laughing on camera.

He was giving me advice. He was giving me romantic advice! During most of the film. So…I liked that advice!

But I had fun on these films. I rush into work. I don’t kinda lollygag. And go like, ugh. I’m not gonna go in.

You know, I’ll go in a little later today, because I don’t want to do it. But we were just all happy to show up. And try to make each other laugh.

At this point, do you even have to think about how you fire a gun, or do you just do it?

BW: Safety is so important. Safety is…not shooting your fellow actors! Not shooting yourself.

Not having a gun go off when it’s in your pocket. You don’t want that to happen. So safety really is my biggest concern.

Not hurting anyone. And you know, sometimes I get to work with kids.

You don’t want to shoot the kids, right!

You don’t want that to happen. So you have to be safe. Although sometimes right, you don’t want to shoot anyone, really.

Safety first. I have four daughters. Safety is my middle name around the house.

Why a second Red for you?

BW: I’m always excited to see who comes to work on the films. I was very, very excited that Tony said, yes. And everybody was very excited.

So it’s nice that you get to work with people that you’re a fan of. And you get to have fun.

And I don’t know, I don’t really feel that we really took it that seriously. I mean, we take the work seriously.

But we just had a ball. We just were kinda laughing, and just watching each other do what we do.

So I wasn’t that concerned. I was a little more confused on the first one, because we were trying to, it felt like we were trying to do so many things at the same time.

Comedy, action, romance. All in the same film. But somehow, it seemed to work out.

And um, more romance I think, in this one. Than the first one.

I haven’t seen the final cut yet. So don’t tell me how it ends, please! Don’t tell me.

Who do you think could have played you in this movie, from those Golden Age Of Hollywood stars?

BW: Hmm..The Golden Age, huh. I always like Gary Cooper. Clark Gable…

Publicist: Sorry, time is up.

BW: No, no. C’mon! Gimme your best question.

New Jersey actors, you’re all really an impressive group of people. Obviously yourself…

BW: There ya go.

And DeVito, Travolta, Nicholson, and Streep. So is there a Jersey actor, is there such a creature?

BW: Well, its a very peculiar state, New Jersey! I’m surprised anyone in Jersey gets to work in show business. But somehow, a lot of them have managed to make a big career out of it.

Bruce, we just lost James Gandolfini, another great Jersey guy. What are your thoughts?

BW: I’ll certainly miss James Gandolfini. Great guy, great guy. Life is short, isn’t it? It seems short. You gotta live it up.

You gotta live it up, have fun. Laugh, eat good food, do whatever you want. Don’t hurt people.

And try to have as much fun as you possibly can. Don’t you think? And start making out with each other whenever you want!

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.