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The Surprising Supernatural Romance Bruce Willis Regrets Passing On

It's safe to say that at this point in his career, Bruce Willis isn't exactly known for turning down roles. Per his IMDb page, as of this writing, he has an unbelievable 11 projects currently in some aspect of production, presumably with still more in the pipeline. Given that work schedule, it's easy to imagine he's more likely to regret a role he said yes rather than no to, but in fact, a vintage interview reveals there's a certain film he turned down near the height of his stardom that he went on to regret.

It's a familiar story: An actor turns down a role in some sort of offbeat feature film that unexpectedly becomes a big hit. Then later, the actor reveals this as a humorous career anecdote and fans get to imagine what the familiar classic would have been like with them in the role instead. And Willis has a doozy up his sleeve for this premise.

Willis said no to Ghost

In a 1996 Playboy interview (reproduced here), Willis covered a variety of topics, from his own personal life to on-screen violence. But we're concerned with his answer to a specific question: "Have you said no to any movies that turned out to be hits?"

He answered, "How about Ghost? Knucklehead Bruce Willis. I just didn't get it. I said, 'Hey, the guy's dead. How are you gonna have a romance?' Famous last words." Willis must have learned his lesson, because it was only a few years after this interview that he earned great reviews on one of his biggest hits by playing a ghost, albeit one who doesn't actually know he's a ghost, in 1999's "The Sixth Sense."

Interestingly "Ghost" ended up starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, Willis' wife at the time. Willis doesn't say whether the plan was for the real-life couple to star in "Ghost" or if Moore was only offered the part after Willis turned the film down, but either way, it's interesting to imagine how the movie might have differed from the version we all know with Willis as one of the leads.

Back then, Willis went on to reject the idea that turning down "Ghost" was something he really regretted: "But I don't regret it, because it just doesn't matter. It's down the road, under the bridge." But if that doesn't seem convincing to you, you're right. In an Ain't It Cool Q&A from 2007, Willis brought up the project again, this time in a more emotionally honest mood: "I wish I had not turned down the part that Patrick Swayze eventually played in Ghost ... it would have been nice to have worked with Demi again." So it would seem that Willis does in fact regret turning down "Ghost."