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Kevin Smith Is Beating Himself Up Over Past Bruce Willis Comments

Kevin Smith broke into the movie business in 1994 with the release of "Clerks." The independent comedy, which Smith wrote, directed, produced and starred in, revolves around slacker convenience store workers who spend their days arguing over "Star Wars" and pondering life's existential questions. The movie birthed an interconnected universe of films — "Mallrats," "Chasing Amy," "Dogma," etc — which have been collectively dubbed as the View Askewniverse. While each film is unique in its own right, they all feature the humor and sensibilities that Smith established with his debut feature. Furthermore, they helped Smith break into mainstream Hollywood, even though he remained somewhat of an outsider for a long time.

In 2010, however, Smith tried to venture further into the mainstream with "Cop Out." The buddy cop caper, which stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in the leading detective roles, was a critical failure (via Rotten Tomatoes) that proved to be an even worse experience behind the scenes. Smith and Willis didn't get along, and the director didn't have nice things to say about the actor in the years that followed. "'Cop Out' could have been a great experience if it were not for the fact that I met true darkness in Bruce Willis." Smith said. "I love making movies and he does not, at all."

That said, in the wake of Willis' unexpected retirement due to health reasons, it seems that Smith has had a change of heart about his former colleague.

Kevin Smith regrets his past comments about Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis' retirement from acting is tragic, to say the least. He's been a prolific performer throughout his 44-year career, but after being diagnosed with aphasia, he's been forced to step away from the craft that turned him into a beloved movie star for decades. Aphasia affects a person's cognitive functions, including their ability to speak, read, and write (via National Aphasia Association). The full extent of Willis' condition remains unclear, but the news has led to Kevin Smith expressing regret for his comments about the actor.

Like many of Willis' fans, Smith was saddened to learn that the veteran performer is experiencing health issues. "Long before any of the Cop Out stuff, I was a big Bruce Willis fan –- so this is really heartbreaking to read," Smith tweeted on March 30, 2022. 

Furthermore, the director took back the previous comments he made about Willis' dedication to acting. "He loved to act and sing and the loss of that has to be devastating for him. I feel like an a******* for my petty complaints from 2010. So sorry to BW and his family," he added.