Is 'Striking Distance' a strike out?
Stop the presses — the new Bruce Willis movie may be in trouble. Striking Distance, a summer cop thriller for Columbia, is going back before the cameras this month, and some reports pin the blame on — big surprise — the actor himself.
Director Rowdy Herrington (Gladiator) admits that in its current state, Distance — the story of an alcoholic, authority-bucking cop on the trail of a serial killer — ”is a little too confusing. The audience has to work too hard.” Another source is more blunt: ”It’s Hudson Hawk without the laughs.”
When it comes to flops, Willis has certainly had his share. His career in recent years has seen more lows (besides 1991’s Hawk, there was 1991’s Billy Bathgate and 1990’s Bonfire of the Vanities) than highs (1990’s Die Hard 2 and 1991’s The Last Boy Scout). With the pressure on to make the $30 million-plus Distance a box office hit, Willis ”called the shots like he did on Hawk and like he used to do on Moonlighting,” says a production veteran. ”He had scenes rewritten. He did what he wanted to do. We were working with Orson Willis.” The actor declines comment.
Despite the murmurings about Willis’ fickle on-set behavior, Herrington defends his star. ”If this movie doesn’t succeed,” he says, ”it’ll be my fault, not Bruce’s.”
The reshoot, set for L.A., will involve a few additional scenes. Yet, warns a source, ”once they’ve done the rewrites, the new problem is, will Bruce do the scenes?”
Columbia chairman Mark Canton says he ”couldn’t be more enthusiastic” about Distance and predicts it’s going to be a ”beyond-sizable hit.” But he also hints that the film may premiere next fall — not May 21, as scheduled.