The man born Walter Bruce Willis has been acting since he was a teenager. The disaffected and joyless attitude of the average teen fit Willis like a warm scowl, and he has returned to it over the past decade, greeting each new action-film offer with a shrug and a “Well, private islands don’t buy themselves.” That lackadaisical mentality serves him well in by-the-numbers films where gesturing for his stunt double to come take over is all the heavy lifting required. But he may find it difficult to maintain in his next endeavor: Playbill reports that Willis has agreed to return to the stage in a Broadway adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery.
Willis will co-star along with Obie award winner Elizabeth Marvel in the new stage adaptation of the book, written by Academy Award winner William Goldman and directed by stage veteran Will Frears. It marks the first time Willis will appear in a theater piece since he was a hungry young actor in New York, traversing the boards of small off-off-Broadway hovels, dreaming of the day he might simply cash a paycheck and not even bother to learn the name of his latest film.
But when Willis is actively interested in a project—as happens every few years according to what is known as Bruno’s Guarantee—the actor comes alive, reminding everyone that he can be charming as hell when he exerts minimal effort. Misery will begin a limited run on Broadway this fall, where audiences are used to rehashes of Hollywood films and actors of Willis’ fame level remembering that they actually used to enjoy this whole acting thing.