Back to IndieWire

M. Night Shyamalan: I’m ‘Forever Grateful’ to Bruce Willis, Who ‘Means the World to Me’

"I had a lot of tears about it," Shyamalan said of Willis' aphasia diagnosis. "My father is also suffering from similar kinds of things, so [I'm] having it on both fronts."

M. Night Shyamalan and Bruce Willis

M. Night Shyamalan and Bruce Willis


M. Night Shyamalan is honoring his “big brother” Bruce Willis.

The writer-director collaborated with Willis for “The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable,” and “Glass,” and now has spoken out about how the star’s aphasia diagnosis. Willis said he was stepping away from acting in March 2022.

“He obviously means the world to me. I would do anything for him and his family, and it’s been super tough for everybody involved,” Shyamalan recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “I had a lot of tears about it, and my father is also suffering from similar kinds of things. So having it on both fronts, it’s profound to realize how precious everything is.”

Shyamalan continued of Willis, “So I’m just grateful for what he did because he didn’t micromanage at all. He protected me from the system early, so I’m forever grateful to him.”

When asked if Willis’ diagnosis has impacted Shyamalan’s productivity and perspective on his career, the “Knock at the Cabin” director said, “It certainly does do that, but it’s probably more an immigrant mentality of, ‘Hey, this isn’t your country. Nothing is given to you. You’ve got to work harder than everybody else.’ So that’s just part of the gig. I honestly think every movie is the last movie and everything I do is the last one.”

Upon Willis’ announcement, Shyamalan tweeted, “All my love and respect to my big brother Bruce Willis. I know his wonderful family is surrounding him with support and strength. He will always be that hero on that poster on my wall as kid.”

The “Happening” director previously told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year that Willis is a “true movie star” that could transform his surroundings thanks to his “humor and his charm.”

“For him to be so pivotal in my life and start my career means so much,” Shyamalan said. “Our families are also very close, and I will always think of him as a big brother and remember how much he protected me. So the things that are happening with him are happening to a family member.”

Upon the diagnosis, Willis’ daughter Rumer Willis thanked her father’s fans and supporters throughout his decades-long career.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox