There’s always the one that got away, even among the many film opportunities afforded an action movie icon. 68-year-old Bruce Willis has an impressive filmography, full of classics like Die Hard, Armageddon, The Fifth Element, and much more, but Willis actually had a chance to be in 1990’s Ghost.
Ghost stars Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, and Whoopi Goldberg in a romantic fantasy about a murdered man who teams up with a psychic to save his still-living girlfriend from his murderer. Willis taking the lead in Ghost would have put him opposite his then-wife Moore. Why didn’t he end up in the film?
Bruce Willis was almost in ‘Ghost’ as the lead man
The year was 1990 and two big hit movies came out: Die Hard 2 starring Bruce Willis, and Ghost with Swayze, among others. Willis could have been in the fantasy romance instead; he was even presented with a script. However, when he read it over, Willis could not see the appeal, and so turned it down. Instead, his next project would be Bonfire of the Vanities, which even his co-star Tom Hanks admitted to despising.
“I said, ‘Hey, the guy’s dead. How are you gonna have a romance?'” Willis recalled. “Famous last words.” He admitted, “I just didn’t get it.” Willis would later regret his decision to pass on the movie and even called himself a “knucklehead” for the move.
Bruce Willis had another career regret besides Ghost
“I wish I had not turned down the part that Patrick Swayze eventually played in Ghost,” admitted Willis. “I simply could not see how a romance between a ghost and a living person would work. Duh.” Willis did share that he did like that film, but that “it would have been nice to have worked with Demi again.” Unfortunately, there would be yet another lingering regret in his career.
This second one comes in the form of 1996’s The English Patient, where he might have played David “Moose” Caravaggio, a Canadian intelligence operative. Instead, that role went to Willem Dafoe. That time, his now-former agent talked him out of working on the film, specifically with director Anthony Minghella.