Buddies: Byunghun & Bruce
Bruce Willis says Korean costar is ‘Sinatra of fighting’
By Ruben V. Nepales Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOS ANGELES—Take a bow, Byung-hun Lee. Mr. “Die Hard” himself, Bruce Willis, conceded that the Korean star is the “Frank Sinatra of fighting.”
Bruce, reprising his role as retired CIA agent Frank Moses, and Byung-hun, “the world’s best contract killer,” engage in bruising fight scenes in “Red 2.” “Mr. Byung-hun Lee is a much better fighter than I am,” Bruce admitted in a recent interview at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York. “He’s awesome! That’s probably the toughest fight I’ve ever been in.”
“And he’s a funny guy,” Bruce said of the Asian actor who returned as Storm Shadow in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and is a big star in Korea. Bruce said, “In a scene where Mary-Louise Parker is in a bar, and she jabs a guy with a needle, Byung-hun does a great thing, where he kind of walks me out. It made me laugh! He’s great to work with.”
Bruce used to be taciturn and sometimes terse, at interviews. In recent years, the 58-year-old has become friendlier—but, he’s still a man of few words. So, we were all ears when Bruce revealed that he’s the opposite of his character, Frank, who said in a scene that he’s not a crier.
“I cry all the time,” confessed the man known for his macho action roles, from Detective John McClane in the “Die Hard” blockbusters to Mr. Church in the two “The Expendables” movies.
What makes him cry? “Nothing bad, really. TV makes me cry. I cried at the Olympics. I don’t give myself a hard time about crying. The older I get, the more I cry and get emotional.”
Occasionally glancing at the Manhattan skyline that was gloriously ablaze in summer sunshine, Bruce recited what he has learned in life: “You have to try not to take your emotions too seriously. Treat people with respect, and try to be humble. You’ve got to keep laughing.
“I am prepared, with most of the people in my family, to do the dumbest things, just to make them laugh,” Bruce added. “You know, trip and fall, the spit take where you drink some water, then let it run down your chin—anything to keep them laughing!”
And that private audience includes Mabel Ray, his daughter with second wife, Emma Hemming. “My little baby, who’s now 14 months old—I’ll do anything to make her laugh, and get her smiling!”
“I love my wife and daughters,” he declared. He has three daughters with his ex, Demi Moore: Rumer, Scout and Tallulah, whom he calls Lula.
In “Red 2,” a fun sequel directed by Dean Parisot, Bruce’s Frank gets unsolicited relationship advice from his old partner, John Malkovich’s Marvin Boggs. The latter delivers a gem of a zinger when he describes Catherine Zeta-Jones’ Miranda Wood as the “kryptonite” in Frank’s life.
Asked who’s the kryptonite in his real life, Bruce smiled and playfully cited his four daughters. “I’m a sucker for these kids,” he said, still grinning. “They can get whatever they want out of me.
“I don’t need to give them that much advice,” he said of his three grown daughters. “Although I was able to give some advice to Lula the other night. She has a boyfriend now. She found herself in one of those boyfriend-girlfriend moments.”
The movie screen’s tough guy claimed that he gets along with his daughters’ suitors. “I always thought I was going to be a tougher dad with those guys,” he remarked. “But, I get along with all of them.” He quipped, “I never had to send any of them home.”
Asked to cite the perks of being famous that he still enjoys, Bruce paused, then replied, “I like to travel. And they do send those checks on a regular basis. Most actors would do it for less money, just because they like acting. People who do stage really don’t get paid large sums of dough. But, it’s always very nice to have a little bit of extra money.”
“I get to kiss Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mary-Louise Parker,” he continued with a grin. How does he smooch for the screen? “I kiss like I would regularly kiss,” he replied.
The man who started in off-Broadway plays went to try his luck in Hollywood and decided to stay an extra day to audition for the male lead in “Moonlighting” (he got the career-making David Addison role, of course). He shared, “There’s just no room for regret. You gotta live it up. You’ve got to accept your choices, especially if you’re an adult—the good or bad choices you made or didn’t make.”
Does he ever think of retiring? “I only think about it when somebody asks me about it,” he replied. “I’m still having fun. In Hollywood, you get to work as long as you want—and as long as you continue to be watchable and entertaining. If you can still make people laugh, you get to stay around longer!”
Thanks to the highlight at PlanetBH0712 ❤ Hope there’ll be a YT version of the clip that we can share later.
BW was told about LBH’s upcoming wedding. He said Congrats and asked BH when it’ll be.. Byunghun replied August 10. BW said August is a good month to be married.. and BH said it’ll also be very hot. But clearly, the man is just so happy whatever the weather would be.
Anyway.. just love the way Bruce Willis talked about LBH.. this is my pal Byung-hun Lee. BW has always been so considerate and accurate with BH’s name.