Friday 15 November 2019

Bruce Willis to exchange white vest for broken legs in Broadway debut

Bruce Willis as action hero character John McClane
Bruce Willis as action hero character John McClane

Patrick Smith

Bruce Willis is to make his Broadway debut this autumn in a stage adaptation of Stephen King’s tense 1987 novel Misery.

The 59-year-old actor, best known for hurtling himself around in a dirty white vest in the explosive Die Hard films (1988-2013), will star opposite stage veteran and House of Cards actress Elizabeth Marvel in the play written by 83-year-old William Goldman.

A two-time Academy Award winner – for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men – Goldman also wrote the screenplay for Rob Reiner’s 1990 film adaptation of Misery, which starred James Caan and Kathy Bates.

 Willis, whose last appearance on a New York stage was when he was understudy to Ed Harris in the lead role of the 1983 off-Broadway production of Sam Shepard's Fool for Love, will play Paul Sheldon, a successful romance novelist rescued from a car crash by his biggest fan, former nurse Annie Wilkes (Marvel).

Kathy Bates and James Caan in Misery
Kathy Bates and James Caan in Misery

When she learns that Sheldon plans to kill off her favourite character, Misery Chastain, in his newest novel, however, she rapidly descends into psychopathic rage, keeping him prisoner and forcing him to burn the manuscript.

Speaking to Spanish magazine XLS in 2013, Willis said that he was tired of making action movies. "Explosions are one of the most boring parts of my job. When you have seen a few fireballs, it's not exciting anymore. I know part of my audience enjoys the explosions, but to be honest, I’m a bit bored of it now," he said.

The play version of Misery will be directed by Will Frears and will be produced by Warner Bros, who are currently represented on Broadway by The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Its West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factor, meanwhile, will make its way to Broadway for the 2016-17 season.

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