Soon to turn 60, Bruce Willis is approaching an interesting stage of his illustrious career. He has already moved away (more or less) from being the lead guy who carries the movie on his own shoulders. That has given him a lot of time to be more prolific in his body of work. In 2012 particularly, there were six movies that released with the name Bruce Willis as part of the acting credits. There were three such movies in 2013, and two in 2014. But at the same time, Bruce Willis hasn’t necessarily chosen his films wisely. While there have been the smarter ones like Red, there has also been the unnecessary continuation of the Die Hard series which had its fifth instalment release in 2013, and then there have been movies like The Prince which hardly anyone would have even heard of. If you are still in awe of the John McClane you saw back in Die Hard of 1988, then, just like me, you would also want the man who made McClane such an unforgettable hero to find back his groove in movies.
The most recent news around Bruce Willis gives us hope that maybe he is being smarter about the movie roles he picks up henceforth. As Deadline reports, Bruce Willis is likely to take up the lead role in the movie adaptation of the novel Bandits. Now before I talk about the book, let me say a few things about the author Elmore Leonard. Leonard is an acclaimed American writer who started writing in the 1950s and made a name for himself with suspense thrillers. A number of his books have been adapted into TV series, TV movies and Hollywood films; the notable ones that got a movie adaptation include Get Shorty, Out of Sight, 3:10 To Yuma and the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown. In fact, Tarantino had at one point acquired rights to four titles of Leonard, one of which was Bandits, but he subsequently chose Rum Punch which was made into the movie Jackie Brown.
Speaking of the novel, it was published in 1987 and has a wild touch to it which borders on being outrageous and yet can be seen as great material for building a thrilling movie. The book’s premise reads something like this,
Working at his brother-in-law’s New Orleans funeral home isn’t reformed jewel thief Jack Delaney’s idea of excitement—until he’s dispatched to a leper’s hospital to pick up a corpse that turns out to be very much alive . . . and under the care of a beautiful, radical ex-nun in designer jeans. The “deceased” is the one-time squeeze of a Nicaraguan colonel who’s ordered her dead for trying to infect him, and Sister Lucy’s looking to spirit the young woman away from his guns and goons. Plus Lucy’s getting ideas about spiriting away some of the colonel’s millions as well—and someone with Jack Delaney’s talents could come in very handy indeed.
Now isn’t there a lot of material to work with!? Bruce Willis is set to play the lead role which I assume would be of Jack Delaney. It is quite easy to see Bruce Willis fitting in this role of an opportunistic thief who gets caught up in bigger things than he had initially planned, but somehow manages to squeeze out of it. The screenplay is going to be written by Mitch Glazer who wrote Great Expectations and The Recruit before. In fact Mitch Glazer’s latest work as a writer is the upcoming film Rock the Kasbah which has Bruce Willis starring in it. So the movie adaptation of Bandits would mark the second collaboration of Bruce Willis and Mitch Glazer.
Bruce Willis’ association with Bandits goes back a long way, back to 1987 when he had purchased the rights for the movie when the book had been published, but then let it lapse. So many years later Willis still fancies his chances. Going by the plot of the novel, I find it to hold a much more interesting premise than most of the other Bruce Willis films that we are seeing lately. Bruce Willis’ career is far from over, and if he chooses his scripts wisely (something like The Looper which can simply blow you away), we may get to see our “washed out” action hero leading successful films again.