Kevin Smith Says He Experienced ‘True Darkness’ When Working With Bruce Willis On Cop Out

Making movies isn’t easy. There are long hours of filming, logistical challenges at every turn, and sometimes it can be hard for co-stars to be co-workers, due to personality clashes and struggles with working in harmony. That appears to have been the case on the set of the irreverent comedy Cop Out as far as Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis are concerned. While the actor-director has hinted at the friction before, he recently shared that he felt “true darkness” when he directed the Die Hard star.

Kevin Smith has made it clear over the years that he is the kind of director that loves what he does. When he’s not making his own, he spends his time talking about pop culture: comic books, of course, but his favorite movies, too. Despite his candor, his new book has still offered up a lot of new insights into his career. Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash: The Definitive Visual History chronicles nearly his entire filmography to date, from 1994’s Clerks to 2019’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. That means sharing anecdotes about the highs and the lows he’s had on some of his film sets -- including his seemingly less-than-enjoyable experience on 2010’s Cop Out (via ScreenCrush):

Cop Out could have been a great experience if it were not for the fact that I met true darkness in Bruce Willis. I love making movies and he does not, at all.

As mentioned, this is not the first time that Kevin Smith has alluded to friction with Bruce Willis. In an interview with CinemaBlend he said that he had to adjust his directing style in order to effectively work with the actor. According to Smith, he was a longtime fan of Willis and enjoyed his first experience working with him on Live Free or Die Hard. But the two had creative differences while filming Cop Out.

In Secret Stash, Smith reiterated a story he’d already told about Willis taking issue with Smith allowing Tracy Morgan to improvise his dialogue. He also shared that Willis had not taken kindly to Smith “contradicting” him in front of the crew.

While there are at least two sides to every story, Smith did not hold back in his version of events. He accuses Bruce Willis of being lazy and admits that if the star had fired him from the project, he would not have been upset about it. In other words, from Smith’s perspective, it was not a great experience.

In the years since Cop Out's release, Bruce Willis has shared brief thoughts on Kevin Smith's accusations and, while he hasn't discussed their conflict in depth, he did confirm that the two had a difficult time working together. He also referred to Smith as a "whiner" while also saying he would never "call him out and lay him out in public."

Secret Stash, which also contains never-before-seen memorabilia from many of Kevin Smith’s most beloved films, hit bookshelves on September 14.

Katherine Webb