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Larry King Live

Bruce Willis Discusses 'The Whole Nine Yards'

Aired February 11, 2000 - 9:30 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a megastar who's died hard, saved the world from Armageddon, been spooked by a sixth sense: Blockbuster actor Bruce Willis is with me in Los Angeles. There's others, too, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

A new movie is going to open next Friday a week from tonight. I saw it yesterday. It's called "The Whole Nine Yards." It is sensational. It's hysterically funny. I wrote about it in Monday's -- it's a riot. And we'll talk about it. We're going to meet others in the cast. We're going to spend the first half with the star of the movie, Bruce Willis. He plays Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski.

It's good to have you back. You like disappeared from the scene for a while.

BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR: Thank you, Larry. Thank you very much.

KING: Big hit movies and...

WILLIS: I don't think disappear. I was here and there.

KING: Nice having you back. It's always good to see you.

WILLIS: It's good to be back. I watch your show all the time.

KING: Let's take care of some little things first, get them out of the way. You took a lot of slams with tabloids -- break-ups.

WILLIS: Continue, continue to take slams.

KING: How do you deal with that?

WILLIS: I don't look at them. It's not an issue in my life. I know they're out there. I know that there's probably something out there right now, or maybe a couple of things out there now, but I just...

KING: You just don't look at it.

WILLIS: Don't let it in the house, don't look at it, it doesn't come into my life, so.

KING: And can an actor as famous as you say that none of my personal life is anybody's business? I know Sinatra said that. Can you do it?

WILLIS: You can say it. I think there's a huge market for those things, you know, people want -- gossip turns the world. It's a big thing. But it just doesn't have that a big place in my life. When I first started out, I railed against the press and tabloid press especially, and I said, oh, this is unjust, and this is unfair and this is untrue. It's just -- I don't really care much about it anymore. It doesn't -- you know, my life has gone on, and my career has gone on, and I just kind of shake it off.

KING: The main thing is that the children are well and happy.

WILLIS: The children are great.

KING: Because they're the ones that get the roughest end of this, right?

WILLIS: You know, they don't see it, and it doesn't really touch them. It exists in the world. There are a lot of negative things in the world. I have -- here's what I know: I have no control over it. And the things that I don't control anymore, I don't bother with.

KING: That's like an Eastern philosophy, right? If I can't control...

WILLIS: Somebody else told me that. But I guess it is, you know.

KING: How did you get that? How did you find it?

WILLIS: You know, I didn't know that it was an Eastern philosophy until somebody else said that to me. By practice, I guess, just kind of started eliminating things from my life that I knew I couldn't control, and tabloids just happened to be one of them.

KING: Things you can control is selection of films. Before we talk about "The Whole Nine Yards," we've got to talk about "The Sixth Sense." You didn't do any interviews for "The Sixth Sense." Why?

WILLIS: No, I did some stuff for it. I did...

KING: I didn't see you anywhere.

WILLIS: ... some stuff. You know, there was a big secret around that film, a secret around the ending, and it -- we did some stuff. I traveled around with Haley Joel Osment, the -- you know, the young man who was, you know, the costar in that film, and he -- I did a lot of stuff with him. He is, by far, the most extraordinary actor I have ever worked with.

KING: Were you shocked at how well that film did?

WILLIS: A little bit -- I mean, yes, by how much it eventually did. I mean, we knew that we had a good film and a good story.

KING: It broke all kinds of records. WILLIS: Yes, all kinds of records. It's still going, still making money. I think the most shocking thing is the fact no one gave the ending away.

KING: Still don't. We won't tonight. There are people who are going to get the video, people see it in foreign countries. We're not going to give it away.

WILLIS: And you know, this -- people do generally give the endings away. They go, this is what happens at the end, or they figure it out.

KING: When you read the script, was that the kind of thing, you said oh yes.

WILLIS: I didn't figure it out when I read the ending. I was completely surprised by the ending as well. So I said if I'm fooled -- and I read a lot of scripts. If I am fooled, you know, hopefully we can -- it was a good challenge to try...

KING: You know, we did four different shows on it: We had psychics. We had the stars. We had the director.

WILLIS: Psychics came out a lot for this film. Psychics really -- I got books and letters and...

KING: Why do you think we were, as a public, so absorbed with it?

WILLIS: I think it's the unknown. You know, I mean, people want to know. And it -- the script and the story. It was incredibly well written by Knight Shyamalan, this, 29-year-old wizard at, you know, writing. We were all concerned when we were, you know, shooting the film that -- whether the audience was going to keep it a secret or whether we were going to be able to fool the audience, and I guess...

KING: That's what you're doing. You are fooling...

Tell me about working with the kid? What did W.C. Fields say? Don't.

WILLIS: Well, things have changed, I think, since W.C. Fields' day. This kid was -- when they'd yell cut, he'd go out and shoot hoops, and run around and play with the other kids on the set. But you know, I tell you, when we were rolling and they would say five minutes, and he would go off in a corner and prepared, and he was like working with a grown man in a little 11-year-old's body. He's the most -- I mean, you talked to him, right?

KING: He's a prodigy, yes.

WILLIS: Yes, absolutely. He's the most extraordinary young man I have ever worked with. He would do -- we would do takes -- the scene in the hospital where he tells me his secret, you know, was about an 11-minute scene. We'd do nine, 10 minute takes, and he was called upon to cry about five minutes in, and without the aid of fake tears or any of that, every time on cue, he would cry. I mean, my performance in that scene was just -- you know, you see me sitting there amazed, and it's from watching this little 11-year-old boy act like a grown man.

KING: Why do you like doing this? Why do you like...

WILLIS: Acting?

KING: ... being other people?

WILLIS: Well, that's a great way to put it.

KING: Like you are "The Tulip." In this movie, you're "The Tulip." Why do you like that?

WILLIS: Well, you know, I'm hesitant to say this, but it...

KING: Oh, go ahead, Bruce.

WILLIS: Acting is an art form. It doesn't get talked about that much in that context, but it is a form of artistic expression, and the challenge for actors and for me is to try to do something different and talk in a different voice and be a different guy. The character in "The Whole Nine Yards" is very different than the character I played in "The Sixth Sense."

KING: Night and day.

WILLIS: And you can certainly make a career out of working on TV and playing the same character for 15 years, if you want, but I'm a lot more interested in trying to do something where I may not succeed at. And there have been films where I didn't -- you know, where I wasn't as successful as I could have been.

KING: Do you learn more from those?

WILLIS: Yes, I learn more from those than from the ones that, you know...

KING: Is that why you left television? Because you were a hit in "Moonlighting."

WILLIS: No, I liked TV. I just started doing films. You know, and you know, you're given more time to make films. You're given more money to paint the picture. You get to travel. You get to go, you know, different places. And TV -- I mean, that hour-format show was a tough, tough schedule.

KING: How did you break out of the confinement of being typecast in the "Die Hard" kind of thing? Of course, they'll always bring you back to that, as the tough guy.

WILLIS: Well you know, that series of films made a lot of dough. And studios, you know, will see that. And they go, well, let's send him this script, let's send him this script. I think when "Die Hard" when the first "Die Hard" was made and another movie called "Lethal Weapon," starring Mel Gibson -- they both came out the same year -- action movies had kind of reinvented themselves at that time, and then there were 10 years of films that were kind of in that, you know, mold, you know, buddy films or a solitary guy against overwhelming odds, but I think they've kind of run out of stories and run out of things to...

KING: Are they easier to do, or different?

WILLIS: They're not -- no, it's not -- it's far more challenging to do -- it's far more challenging to act. I mean, I don't really challenge myself as an actor when I run down the street with a gun in my hand shooting people. Frankly, it's kind of boring. I have kind of gotten to the point where I think...

KING: You don't do them anymore?

WILLIS: Well, I am waiting for them to reinvent themselves.

KING: Our guest is Bruce Willis. His new film opens next week. It's "The Whole Nine Yards." His brother produced it, right?

WILLIS: David Willis, young David.

KING: Young David. It is really funny. We're going to talk about that.

And here's a scene from "The Sixth Sense." Watch.


HALEY JOEL OSMENT, ACTOR: I want to tell you my secret now.


OSMENT: I see dead people.

WILLIS: In your dreams? While you're awake? Dead people like in graves, in coffins?

OSMENT: Walking around like regular people.

WILLIS: How often do you see them?

OSMENT: All the time.



KING: I should mention that "The Whole Nine Yards" is a Warner Brothers production, and Warner Brothers also owns CNN -- and probably going to merge with Czechoslovakia.

WILLIS: Very nice. We like all the Warners Brothers people.

KING: We do like them. And you even have your "Whole Nine Yards" hat.

How did the script come to you?

WILLIS: My brother David found this thing for me. And I actually heard him laughing on a plane trip we were on. I said what? All right. I said let me see it. Let me see it. And I read it and started laughing.

KING: You laugh all the way through this movie.

WILLIS: And we had a great cast, a really, funny cast...

KING: We're going to meet two of them.

WILLIS: ... who everybody showed up with something new and funny every day. We had a great director, funny director, Jon Lynn, who did "My Cousin Vinny," funny guy, who just kind of let us horse around with it every day.

KING: You did it in what? Thirty-nine days?

WILLIS: Really short schedule.

KING: Why?

WILLIS: That's what they gave us.

KING: Doesn't look that.

WILLIS: No, it looks like a big picture, doesn't it? My brother David brought it in on time and under budget, which is a little...

KING: Do you like comedy?

WILLIS: I love comedy. It's the hardest thing to do, and I didn't realize how much I missed doing it until I did this film. It's a good job to go to work every day, and the goal is trying to make people laugh all day long.

KING: Except you've got to play it serious, right? I mean, That's the hard part.

WILLIS: Yes, I have to play it straight.

KING: You've got to believe in "The Tulip."

WILLIS: Yes, exactly. But you know, I was surrounded by really funny people. Matthew Perry is hilarious. Kevin Pollack, hilarious. You're going to meet Michael Clarke Duncan, Amanda Peet. These guys were all just extremely funny. Everybody was -- you know, the day players who came in, the two cops at the end, hilarious.

KING: Where'd you find them?

WILLIS: In Canada, in Montreal.

KING: The picture was supposed to be shot in Miami.

WILLIS: It was originally written for Miami, but Jonathan Lynn had the idea to shoot Montreal for Montreal. And generally, films go to Montreal and they try and make it look like something else, make it look like another city, and we said, why not make it just be Montreal? And they kind of changed the story around a little bit and made my character on the run from the Gogolack Gang in Chicago. I was hiding out...

KING: I never heard of a Hungarian Mafia gang.

WILLIS: It's new. It's new one.

KING: It's a new one.

WILLIS: But it was done for comedy, and Kevin Pollack shows up with this Hungarian accent.

KING: That's unbelievable.

WILLIS: It just kills you.

KING: And we're going to meet one of the girls. We're going to meet Amanda.

WILLIS: Amanda Peet.

KING: The other two girls?

WILLIS: Rosanna Arquette, who does a very good Quebecouis accent, very funny.

KING: And the other one?

WILLIS: Natasha Henstridge. There's a problem with Natasha Henstridge: She's just not good looking enough. She's just...

KING: When Matthew Perry -- this is the only movie when someone falls in love with someone at first sight, you totally believe...

WILLIS: Yes, you get it right away.

KING: Except the question is, why "The Tulip" not want her as a wife?

WILLIS: Well, you know, she's -- that was -- I had the same problem with the script. I asked Jonathan about it. He's like just, go along with it, it's fine.

KING: He wants to kill her.


KING: Killing is funny in this movie. It's funny.

WILLIS: Yes, well, we really -- yes, I mean, the killing, and guns and violence is such a small part of the film, and we really took a very light, kind of tongue-in-cheek look at it, and you know, it wasn't really played seriously, and it kind of -- it -- you know, for me, it was fun, because I've done some serious movies where violence is...

KING: I know.

WILLIS: ... one of the stars in the film. And it was fun not to have to take it seriously.

KING: What do you make of this "Sopranos," "Analyze This," "The Whole Nine Yards" syndrome.

WILLIS: I think -- I like that it's kind of come full circle. If you look at "The Godfather," you know, both -- the first two "Godfather" films were on just about everybody's top five list of all- time great films, and that was a serious, serious story, and violence was dealt with in a very serious way in that film, and that was 1972, and it's come full circle. We kind of are allowed to make fun of it now, not that violence or, you know, death or killing people is a funny thing, but I think film-going audiences are really sophisticated now. Everybody that goes to the films now are...

KING: The guy didn't die there.

WILLIS: Yes. They know that. I mean, they know that nobody really gets hurt. And it's just a big, silly film. So I mean, by the time we get to the violent stuff, you're already dying.

KING: You're laughing, yes.

Our guest is Bruce Willis. We've been talking about it.

Here's a scene from "The Whole Nine Yards."


MATTHEW PERRY, ACTOR: Hi, you must be our new neighbor. I am Nicholas Oseransky. Call me "Oz."

WILLIS: Jimmy.


WILLIS: Jimmy Jones.

PERRY: Have we met before?


PERRY: Are you sure?

WILLIS: Yes, I'd remember. I've got a thing with faces.

PERRY: That's so weird. You look so familiar. Where are you from? UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Mr. Jones, where do you want this?

WILLIS: Upstairs, back bedroom.

What were you saying?

You all right?



KING: Forgive me for laughing, but Bruce was just doing an imitation of Kevin Pollack, who is doing this Hungarian Mafia leader, calls him "Yemi."


KING: I'll get even with Yemi.

WILLIS: Say good night, Yemi.

KING: Do you work harder knowing your brother is producing it?

WILLIS: He made me work harder.

KING: Emotionally, do you work...

WILLIS: You know what, I think everybody worked hard on this. About a week or so in, we kind of knew we were onto something, and every day, and you know, because we had a very short schedule, everybody -- you know, we worked long days and...

KING: Even though -- you didn't say, boy, I want this to be a hit for David?

WILLIS: Well, yes I did, but I want it to be a good movie, too, and we wanted to tell a good story, and it turned out to be -- I think it's going to be a big hit for David.

KING: A big hit.

Do you work well with directors?

WILLIS: I think so. I think so. I -- my goal is to make a good movie and help tell a good story.

KING: I mean, do you take direction well?

WILLIS: I think so. I think so.

KING: Some don't.

WILLIS: Yes, I mean, it's a collaboration. And if you start off with that intent and everybody's goal is to tell the best story you can, it makes it easy. KING: Do good directors want an actor's input?

WILLIS: I think so. I think the only time it becomes a problem is when directors feel threatened if they're not as, you know, confident in their own work that they sometimes feel threatened, but I -- you know, I have made a choice to work with guys whose films I like, and you know, I think are funny. You know, in this case...

KING: Have you ever felt that you -- I mean, you're a big star, big bucks. I mean, let's face it, you're a superstar. It might...

WILLIS: Megastar, megastar.

KING: A megastar. Might intimidate a young director. Might intimidate an old director.

WILLIS: I try to go out of my way to try and dispel all of that, because it's all, you know, B.S. really.

KING: Baloney, yes.

WILLIS: It is baloney. It really is. It's just, you know -- I don't think of myself like that. It always cracks me up to hear people say, you're a superstar, you're a big star. I don't think about myself like that. I am fortunate, and I've had a couple of breaks.

KING: What were you in New York? You were what? A bartender?

WILLIS: Bartender. I did a couple of things, like bartender, waiter, busboy.

KING: You were a busboy?

WILLIS: For a minute, wasn't a very good busboy.

KING: How long were you a waiter in New York City?

WILLIS: Well, let's see. '80, 1980.

KING: 1980 -- that's only 20 years ago.

WILLIS: Twenty years ago, yes.

KING: Did you ever think, I am going to be -- you wanted to be...

WILLIS: Well, I didn't know I was going to be this. I didn't know it was going to turn out like this.

KING: But you were goal-oriented.

WILLIS: Yes, I knew I wanted to act. I mean, I had a whole different plan. I thought I was going to go a whole different way. I never thought I was going to do TV. Glenn Karen came to me with this script, and -- well, I went in on an audition and met Glenn Karen, and he -- and I don't think Aaron Spelling's people, at the time, wanted me to do "Moonlighting." They had a whole different idea of who should play the part.

KING: No one knew you.

WILLIS: Nobody knew me at all. And Glenn Karen was the guy that stepped up and said: This is the guy for the part.

KING: In fact, one of the raps against you was you looked too much like -- who was the actor at the time?

WILLIS: Who did they say? Bill Murray?

KING: No, not Bill Murray?

I'll think of it.

WILLIS: Carey Grant, Humphrey Bogart.

KING: No, no.

WILLIS: Oh come on. Help me.

KING: He was an actor. He was big, and then he had trouble. He opened a place in Miami, rough guy. Mickey O'Rourke.

WILLIS: Oh, Mickey.

KING: Right. They used to say, he looks like Mickey O'Rourke.

WILLIS: Well, that's a compliment.

KING: Good actor.

WILLIS: I like Mickey's work. You know, I he's a good actor.

KING: Do we ever figure out why some guys -- why did Bruce Willis make it, and Mickey O'Rourke didn't?

WILLIS: I have no idea. I just have no idea. I mean, it -- look, I've done films that they have been bombs, you know, not -- just stunk, and it's really difficult thing. It's like trying to physically align the planets to...

KING: You can't manufacture.

WILLIS: You can't manufacture. You can't -- you have so little control. And we're led to believe because of what's, you know -- because of how the media looks at actors and moviestars that the actor somehow control the whole film and how that works, but that's just not the case. I mean, I work with 200 guys, you know, men and women who work just as hard as I do, who move the lights, and carry cable and do all the other jobs, and they work just as hard as I do. And my input is a tiny, fractional thing of a film, and how it's dealt with in post-production, how the studio is marketed.

KING: But it can get heady, can't it, or can it? A lot of people...

WILLIS: For a while. The first couple of years it did. You're going to talk to Michael Duncan. You should ask him that...

KING: Yes, I will.

WILLIS: Because he's on that ride.

KING: He's on the heady ride.

WILLIS: He's on the big ride, and he is I think a little surprised by what's happened to him.

KING: We'll get a break, come back, spend some more moments, then Bruce will remain with us when the other members of the cast join us. some more moments with Bruce alone, and then them. The film is "The Whole Nine Yards." Here's a scene from a film you may be familiar with: "Die Hard."


WILLIS: Oh , God, please don't let me die.


KING: We're with my man Bruce Willis. We were reminiscing. I first met Bruce back in Washington, when somebody asked me to go. I sat in this movie theater all alone to see a movie called "Die Hard." It didn't have music. I watched it without music, and I said, this is going to make it.

And while we were showing that scene, you were telling me about things did and didn't do. Let's rerun this without the sound, and Bruce can describe which stunts he did. Can we rerun that shot? Here we go.

WILLIS: I did that one.

KING: That's you.

WILLIS: That's me jumping off the parking lot at Fox, 40 foot jump into an airbag.

Not me.

KING: Not you.

WILLIS: Not me. A very brave man did that one.

Not me. Very brave man did that -- ouch, that hurt. That guy got hurt that day.

Did that. That's me. Fake blood.

That's me. That's me.

KING: You're swinging over the Fox building.

WILLIS: No not over the Fox building, over a stage lot.

Not me.


WILLIS: Not me. That was brave little guy called "key-eyed" (ph) Johnson did that stunt.

KING: Did a tape with Burt Reynolds today. He said they're are the unsung heroes of the world, the stuntmen.

WILLIS: Absolutely. Absolutely. I can't watch them. I can't watch them do what they do. It is the scariest stuff. And they get hurt. Sometimes they get hurt. My stuntman now, Terry Jackson...

KING: You have your own stuntman?

WILLIS: Well, he looks a lot like me. He's my, you know, build and shape and everything. We were doing "Armageddon" with Michael Clarke Duncan. There was a big scene where the oil rig explodes, and he got knocked down and got his head cut open. And it could have been me. I am glad I didn't do that stunt. Because in the old days, I wanted to do them all. I wanted to do all my stunts.

KING: We're going to bring in the other cast members in a moment. But the truth -- I was going to ask them -- you do not feel like a star?

WILLIS: No, I really don't. I mean, the only time is when I do things, and they go, oh, you're a superstar, you know, and I go not really, and you know, my friends keep me honest. My friends really -- we make a joke out of it all the time. We spend more time laughing about how not big a star I am and about...

KING: you're staying with Planet Hollywood?

WILLIS: Oh, yes.

KING: Yes. Because they went into bankruptcy, but they're reopening.

WILLIS: We shut down some of the stores that weren't doing well, but the stores that stayed open are doing great, and it's a good time to buy stock.

KING: You still playing music?


KING: You still play at all the openings.

WILLIS: You bet.

KING: The Willis band, right? WILLIS: The Accelerators.

KING: The Accelerators.

We'll right back with Bruce Willis. We'll be joined by Michael Clarke Duncan and Amanda Peet. Both are terrific in a terrific new movie that opens a week from today. I kid you not. I saw it yesterday. "The Whole Nine Yards." They'll join us. Bruce remains, even some phone calls later.

Don't go away.


WILLIS: Oz, what the hell were you thinking taking off with Cynthia like that?

PERRY: I'm sorry, but I can't let you kill her.

WILLIS: What do you mean you can't let me kill her? That's got nothing to do with you.

PERRY: Jimmy, I am in love with her.

WILLIS: Look I don't -- what did you say?

PERRY: I love her.

WILLIS: Will you listen to yourself? What are you talking about you love her? You just met her.

AMANDA PEET, ACTRESS: She's the one.

WILLIS: Let me get this straight: You went to Chicago and you engaged in sexual congress with my wife? Is that what your telling me?

PERRY: He's a little upset. I've managed to upset a mass murderer.

WILLIS: Tell me where you are. Find out where he is. Just stay right there.

PEET: Oz? You stud, you.

MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN, ACTOR: Going to be a dead stud.


KING: Bruce Willis is impressed. He's with Larry King. I'm impressed.

Anyway, Bruce Willis is with us. He plays hitman Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski in the blockbuster -- it's going to be major hit -- "The Whole Nine Yards." And joining us now, Michael Clarke Duncan, who, as we say, is very "hot." He plays hitman Frankie Figs. Most recently, he was in Tom Hanks' "The Green Mile" and he appeared as well with Bruce Willis in "Armageddon." He flew in from Australia to be with us tonight -- not to be with me, because Bruce made one call.

DUNCAN: That's right, one call.

KING: And the lovely Amanda Peet -- whoa! She plays Jill, the dental assistant, hitwoman. Currently starring on WB networks' "Jack and Jill." Do you want to look there, Jill, so they get your full face? OK.

WILLIS: Another Warner's company.

KING: Another Warner's company, owners of CNN. We have to -- you came here from Australia to be here...

DUNCAN: From Australia, yes.

KING: ... because Bruce asked.

DUNCAN: Because Bruce asked me. He's been a good friend to me ever since we met, although when I first met him -- I know he probably doesn't remember this -- people had told me that he was not kind to talk to and...

KING: Tough?

DUNCAN: Yes, and so I would avoid him every day. We first started "Armageddon" -- you remember this? -- And he stopped me and he said, Michael, he said, you never speak to me. I said, because I heard that you're really not a nice person. And he says, have I ever treated you that way? I said, no, you haven't. But I'm not going to give you a chance to treat me that way either. I want to save my job. He said, don't worry about that. He extended his hand, and we've been best friends ever since.

KING: And you were in Australia to open -- "Green Mile" opened in Australia.

DUNCAN: Yes, yes.

KING: How's it doing there?

DUNCAN: Wonderful. First-day turnout was fantastic.

KING: And, Amanda, how did you get this? How did this role come to you, this very funny, hysterical gun moll role?

PEET: I read 18 times.

WILLIS: She didn't read 18 times.

PEET: No, just kidding.

WILLIS: One time very well.

PEET: I read three times, Bruce. I only read once with you.

WILLIS: Well, and they kept calling you back.

PEET: And that was the only reading that...

KING: They kept calling you back? Did they keep calling you back?

PEET: The important reading was the one with Bruce.

KING: Were you nervous?

PEET: You don't understand. My papers were just not still. I couldn't read my lives. I was all flummoxed.

KING: Flummoxed?

PEET: Flummoxed?

WILLIS: Flummoxed, it's the French. They say flummoxed.

PEET: I was schvitzing to the oldies.

KING: Why -- did you like her right away?

WILLIS: Yes, she got the job right away. I mean, she was it. She was the girl. And she -- look at her.

PEET: He came running out after I left, like, I was about to walk down the stairs and leave. And he came running out and said, that was really good. And I was like, now what is that? So I spent the next 10 hours analyzing. Really good? OK, I was really good. Bruce said I was really good.

KING: What does that mean?

PEET: What does that mean? Does that mean, like...

KING: Was it really good?

PEET: Oh, it was really good but just was like, but you're not...

KING: Not for this part.

PEET: Right.

KING: So they called you, you got it. What was it like working with them?

PEET: It was...

WILLIS: (OFF-MIKE) the truth.

KING: The truth. You can tell the truth here. You got the job.

PEET: Well, he got better and better as we went along.

WILLIS: Yes, I was probably the most nervous on this movie.

KING: Because of your brother?

WILLIS: Well, no, not because -- I think because everybody around me was so funny that I, you know, I was a little perplexed how funny people were. I mean, she's hilarious, big Mike's hilarious, Matthew Perry, hilarious, Kevin Pollack, hilarious.

KING: So you thought you were the least comical in this group?

WILLIS: I was way behind. I was way, way, way behind. I mean, it really wasn't until the scenes we did in the house with Amanda and Matthew that I kind of caught up a little bit.

KING: How did you approach the Figs?

DUNCAN: Well, I got a call from Bruce one morning. And he says, are you working? I'm like, no, I'm reading script. Usually when actors say that, that means they're unemployed. So he said, so you're not working right now, right? And I said, no, man. I got some things in the oven. He says, well, I want you to come up to Montreal to do a movie with me. And he goes -- I go, OK. I said, what is it? He says, you're going to play Frankie Figs and this, you're going to leave on this date. I said, wait, wait, wait. Aren't your people supposed to call my people? He said, come on, Mike, we're passed all that, man. I said, no, let's go the professional route. You call my agent and manager and then we'll set a deal.

KING: He's a tough guy.

WILLIS: He is a tough guy.

DUNCAN: But I learned it from him.

WILLIS: What do I say to that?

KING: Did you get your price?


DUNCAN: I'm not going to even answer that.

KING: "Green Mile" hadn't opened then.

DUNCAN: No, it hadn't opened yet.

KING: Oh, the price is now different.

DUNCAN: Thank you, there you go.

KING: He said before you're riding a high now, and you're going to have to balance it a little. Is he right? DUNCAN: But you know what? I don't -- it is a high, but you don't realize -- I don't realize what's going on. And he always tries to give me advice all the time. He calls me all the time, and I call him for advice. And he tells me how to handle different situations.

KING: Really.

DUNCAN: And it was funny. I was in Australia, and some paparazzis came up and start trying to take my picture. And I'm, you know, moving back and everything instead of going out there and doing what my security mind would tell me to do -- you know, get the camera and the film. I had to just sit there this time and just kind of lean back and let everybody else take it in. That's what he said, so...

KING: Now there's no doubt -- I mean, you've got a hit TV show on WB but this one's going to make her, right?

WILLIS: Big star, big star.

KING: Do you think she's ready? How old are you?

PEET: Twenty-eight.

KING: Do you think she's ready?

WILLIS: Absolutely ready.

KING: Because you're going to be a big star.

WILLIS: Big star.

KING: I mean, this movie -- you realize. Come on, be honest.

PEET: You guys are all jinxing me.

WILLIS: No, we're not.

DUNCAN: Big time, big time.

KING: No, let's be serious. She's going to be.

WILLIS: She's hilarious, she's hilarious.

DUNCAN: Oh, yes. I knew that in Montreal. I knew that the first time I looked at her.

PEET: He knew that when I tripped.

DUNCAN: Oh, she's really -- she's -- man.

KING: She tripped?

DUNCAN: Oh, how many times?

PEET: Michael thinks I'm, like, the biggest dork that ever walked the face of the planet. KING: Well a lot of things we see on screen -- when you fall, that's an accident?

WILLIS: That's no accident. They say, OK, go again. (OFF-MIKE)

PEET: Apparently I ran into the camera.

WILLIS: Accident prone, you could have fallen down in the film (OFF-MIKE)

KING: Also we understand that when he ran into the window, that was his idea?

WILLIS: It was his idea. All the physical comedy stuff that, you know, Matthew does -- him sitting in the chair, him sitting on that stack of tires with the foam plastic on it -- he came in every day and said, what if I did this? What about this? And he's a comic genius. He's just hilarious.

KING: Did you all like this right from -- did you like...

DUNCAN: I loved it, because coming from "The Green Mile," it was totally different.

KING: I would say.

DUNCAN: (OFF-MIKE) It wasn't about me. It was about Bruce and Matthew Perry, and I was, like, on the sidelines. So I was like the third of the Three Stooges, you know? So I just -- I just kind of hung in there and let the jokes bounce off me. But it worked out really well, though.

KING: And I don't think there's ever been a character quite like the one you play.

PEET: Yes.

KING: The switch -- the switch you have to pull off.

PEET: I'm not allowed to talk about it.

KING: Why? It comes early in the movie.

PEET: Well, I'm a dental assistant with a secret. That's all I'm allowed to say.

WILLIS: That's good, that's good.

PEET: Otherwise, I'll have to be -- I'll have to kill you.


KING: Otherwise she'll have to kill me. She didn't give it away. Otherwise she'll have to kill me.

WILLIS: You know, Larry, one of our pals couldn't be here tonight. Can we get a shot of this? This is Matthew Perry? Can we show them in America? Because Matthew's working tonight. He's shooting the "Friends" show, the friendship show. And he -- and I just want you to notice this..

KING: "To my pal Larry King." But he -- Xs and Os mean, like, love.

WILLIS: "To my pal Larry King."

DUNCAN: Love. I don't know what that means.

WILLIS: I don't know what that means. You may have to give him a call and find out what the heck he means.

DUNCAN: But you see? Now I'm going to show you the difference. He sent you a not-very-good framed picture of himself, I come from Australia...

WILLIS: True, true.

DUNCAN: Sixteen hours.

WILLIS: Yes, 16 hours.


WILLIS: Long way.

DUNCAN: To be here.

WILLIS: Yes, he's...

DUNCAN: Those are the kinds of people you want on your show.

KING: Do you have a piece of this movie?

We'll be right back with Willis, Duncan and Peet -- sounds like a law firm.


Don't go away.


PEET: I am your friend. Talk to me.

PERRY: Well, I have to talk to somebody, you know, because I'm just -- I'm going to do something.

PEET: Take your time. That's good. OK.

PERRY: Well, first of all, I just found out that my wife is trying to have me killed.

PEET: Who told you? PERRY: A friend.

PEET: Anyone I know?

PERRY: He's my next door neighbor. And here's the funny part, he's a hitman too. Ha, ha, ha.

PEET: Really? What's his name?

PERRY: Jimmy, Jimmy Tudeski.

PEET: Jimmy "The Tulip" lives next to you and you know him? Oz, can you introduce me to him?

PERRY: Jill, the man's a professional killer.

PEET: Oz, you don't understand. I've been wanting to meet this guy for years. Please, Oz, come on. Quick, come on.



KING: As you could see from the clips, "The Whole Nine Yards" is a riot. It opens next Friday. We are going to include some calls and we're going to give Bruce Willis one of his thrills. He wants to really be me, so he'd like to take the call -- go.

WILLIS: San Diego, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, how are you doing?

KING: Fine, that was Bruce.

CALLER: Hi, Bruce. Hi, Michael. Sorry, I'm not -- I don't understand -- I mean, I'm sorry, I don't know the name of the young lady.

KING: Amanda, you'll know it when you see the movie.

PEET: That's OK.

CALLER: Amanda, hi. I'm sorry, Amanda.



CALLER: OK, my question is it seems like a great partnership with both Larry and Bruce up there. Are we going to see more of the two of you in the future together in films?

KING: I am in a movie of yours.

WILLIS: A movie we're doing right now. It's a movie -- what did you shoot that about a month ago? It's a movie that was called "The Kid." We can't use that name because it's a Charlie Chaplin film. So it's the untitled Larry King project.

KING: It's a great script idea, though.

WILLIS: Yes, it's very funny, very funny.

KING: It's a very funny script idea. Are we going to see more of the three of you together in projects?


DUNCAN: I hope so. I mean, but she's blowing up so it will probably be -- I mean, you know, she won't have time for us anymore.

WILLIS: She's going to be too busy.

PEET: I don't know.

KING: How long are you committed to "Jack and Jill"?

PEET: Until March 9th.

KING: That's it?

PEET: Well, I'm committed as long as it goes. But so far...

KING: It's my son's one-year birthday.

PEET: Really?

KING: Yes, he'll be 1-year-old, my little boy, on March 9th.

WILLIS: Pisces -- Pisces?

KING: Pisces, yes. Yes, Chance.

WILLIS: Chance.

KING: That's his name. He's cute. You saw his picture -- he's cute.

WILLIS: Yes, he's gorgeous.

KING: Gorgeous is a better word.

WILLIS: Gorgeous.

PEET: Gorgeous.

WILLIS: Gorgeous.

KING: By the way, you two did "Armageddon." We've got to see...


WILLIS: "Armageddon"? KING: We got the scene? OK, here's a scene -- we're just having fun here, like they made this movie. What do you want to do today? OK, Bruce and Michael in "Armageddon."



WILLIS: United States government just asked us to save the world. Anybody want to say no?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Twenty years, I haven't turned you down once. I'm not about to start now. I'm there.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Guess I can't let you go up there alone.

DUNCAN: I'm with you.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I mean. this is historic. Guys, this is like deep blue hero stuff. Of course I'm in.

STEVE BUSCEMI, ACTOR: While I don't share his enthusiasm, you know me. Beam me up, Scotty.

WILLIS: You all right, Max?

KEN HUDSON CAMPBELL, ACTOR: I don't -- I don't -- whatever you think.

WILLIS: What about you.


WILLIS: All right then. We go.


KING: Those muscles...

DUNCAN: Yes, they're gone now.

WILLIS: How big is Mike?

PEET: They're gone?

DUNCAN: They're gone, they're gone, yes.

WILLIS: I used to call him "Big Mike."

DUNCAN: Yes, 295 now, trying to slim down, get more roles.

WILLIS: He lost about a thousand pounds, I think.


KING: Isn't it hard to get roles when you're built like that? DUNCAN: It is really hard. And my manager, Delores Robertson (ph), is on me all the time about losing weight. And she's absolutely right, because if you don't lose weight you're going to be stuck with that certain type of role. And I don't want that.

KING: Except for "Green Mile."

DUNCAN: Well, except for "Green Mile," that's right. (OFF-MIKE)

KING: You were alone -- you were alone in that.

DUNCAN: That's right.

KING: What were you doing before "Jack and Jill"?

PEET: Well, that's when "The Whole Nine Yards" was shooting, so I went...

KING: But I mean before we knew about you. What were you doing? Before you did television?

PEET: I was doing some other movies like...

KING: Why didn't we know you?

PEET: Well, because they crashed and burned.

KING: You were in failures, huh? You're playing the part of the dental assistant.

PEET: I was a big failure, that's why.

KING: You were a failure?

PEET: Until Bruce plucked me up -- and David Willis.

KING: Were you living in some little apartment somewhere?

PEET: A little schlocky, cockroach-infested apartment in New York City.

KING: Were you?

WILLIS: New York.

KING: Where in New York?

PEET: I was working at City Crab as a hostess and...

KING: City Crab?

PEET: City Crab.

KING: You mean, you would -- people would come into City Crab and you'd...


KING: Wait a minute, you worked in a restaurant.

PEET: Hi, table for two?

WILLIS: Yes, but it wasn't called City Crab, Larry, please. (OFF-MIKE) the name.

PEET: Beggars can't be choosers.

KING: What was the name of your restaurant?

WILLIS: Cafe Central, you used to hang out there.

KING: Oh, yes, Cafe Central.

So people would come to City...

PEET: He doesn't like the name of my...

KING: People would come in, you would say, welcome to City Crab, table for three?

PEET: Table for two? Yes, whatever.

KING: What menial job did you have?

DUNCAN: I was a gas man for Chicago Gas Company -- people's gas.

KING: You'd come and check the meter?

DUNCAN: No, I would actually dig out the hole that the guy -- the mechanic had to go down into. I was a laborer, I dug ditches.

PEET: City Crab was better than people's gas.

DUNCAN: No, it is not. You see these calluses, baby? This is hard work.

WILLIS: Still there, look at this, still there.

DUNCAN: This is for when I think I'm too big-headed, I look at my hands.

KING: That's a good idea. The three of them will never make it.

We'll be back -- where are you going to go? Supposing one night we just have a welder. "The Whole Nine Yards" opens next Friday. Table for three.

We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with some of the cast of the wonderful movie "The Whole Nine Yards," which opens next Friday. Who's the next caller, Bruce?

WILLIS: Las Vegas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Bruce.


CALLER: Out of all the movies you have made, which one had the biggest impact on your life or your career and why?

WILLIS: Well, probably "Die Hard." The first "Die Hard" had the most impact. If it hadn't have been as successful as it was, I'd probably be working at City Crab restaurant going, hi, would you like blue cheese or ranch dressing with that salad -- on your crab?

KING: So "Die Hard" was.

WILLIS: The first "Die Hard."

KING: What was it like being a gas man?

DUNCAN: It was hard work. It was really hard work. And the guys used to call me "Hollywood" because they didn't think I was going to ever make it.

KING: Oh, you always said you wanted to be an actor?

DUNCAN: Always, and the big joke was that they were always calling, and I'd be like six feet below the surface of the earth on this big main getting all this dirt from around. They'd say, hey, Big Mike, Bruce Willis is on line two. He wants you to do a movie. And everybody would crack up. And I'd just sit there and I'd say, you know what? One day, you guys are going to have to pay at least $8 to see this face. And here I am sitting beside who?

KING: Somebody actually said that to you.

DUNCAN: A lot of people always said that, they always said that.

KING: You'd be in a Bruce Willis movie.

DUNCAN: Yes, they'd always say, he's on line two.

KING: Isn't this weird?

DUNCAN: It is weird.

KING: Did anyone ever come into City Crab...


KING: ... and say, you're going to be in a movie with Bruce Willis?

PEET: I'm really sorry I just said that -- no. KING: You're helping it. It will be flooded there tonight.

WILLIS: It's going to be mobbed at City Crab tonight.

KING: It's going to be mobbed at City Crab.

PEET: No, but he really did call me when I got the part.

KING: Oh, he's the one that called you?

PEET: On my machine.

KING: What did he say?

PEET: Hello, Amanda. It's Bruce Willis calling. And if you don't call me back in ten minutes I'm going to burn your house down.

KING: That was the message?

WILLIS: I was already in character,

PEET: It's his stock phrase for everyone he fears won't call him back. I think it's some bizarre...

KING: Is that what you do?

WILLIS: You know what? I'm afraid people will never return my calls. You're the only guy that's ever returned my calls.

PEET: It's because he's a megastar. He just -- I don't know. But he never leaves his number, so it's like -- it's just kind of bizarre.

KING: So you had to call back.


KING: The next city, Bruce.

WILLIS: L.A. -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Hi, Amanda, Michael, Bruce.

PEET: Hey.

WILLIS: Hi, hi.

DUNCAN: How are you doing?

CALLER: Bruce, the question is for you.

WILLIS: Thank you. CALLER: Working with Haley Joel Osment...

WILLIS: Uh-huh.

CALLER: ... what do you think makes him such a phenomenal young actor? And also, does your daughter Rumor have any desire to go into the business?

WILLIS: Well, Haley Joel Osment is a -- is a one-of-a-kind. I've never worked -- I've worked with kids before in films. I've never worked with anybody who one minute is an 11-year-old boy shooting hoops and the next minute is a consummate actor who is well- prepared...

KING: He's like a freak in that sense.

WILLIS: He's unbelievable, just unbelievable.

KING: Now what about your daughter?

WILLIS: Yes, she talks about it.

KING: How is old is she now?

WILLIS: She's 11. She talks about it, but I...

KING: Would you want her to be in movies?

WILLIS: Not until she's at least 18. I want her to be a kid as long as she can be.

KING: By the way, when Haley Joel Osment was on this program, we asked him about Bruce Willis.



OSMENT: I'm ecstatic that so many people were able to connect with it, because the film really does have an important message. It really tells people about what bad things happen when you don't communicate with each other. So I'm glad a lot of people connected with it.

KING: Enjoy working with Bruce Willis?

OSMENT: Yes, Bruce is cool. He's such a witty person. He's so funny. He can make any situation a laughable one. On the set, even the most intense days were made happy by him. And it helped since it was such an intense set.



KING: One program reminder, tomorrow night Tony Robbins -- very important edition because he has some news to break tomorrow night.

Tuesday night, I'm going to be the moderator of the Republican debate in South Carolina. The three candidates will be there and I'll be there and it will be 90 minutes. That's this coming Tuesday night at 9:00 Eastern with the -- your old friend Cybill was thinking about running.

WILLIS: She was?

KING: Yes, it was in the papers.

WILLIS: No, no, I knew she was. I knew she was. I don't read the newspapers much, but I did hear she was going to run. Is she not going to run?

KING: No, she's not going to run. Did you read about World War II?

WILLIS: There was -- the big one? The big one, WWII?


WILLIS: Yes, I read that somewhere.

KING: OK, you give people movie cameras -- he gave you a movie camera?

DUNCAN: A camcorder.

KING: He gave you a movie camera?

PEET: He gave me a movie camera?

KING: You give gifts to people you work with?

WILLIS: Yes, sometimes, sometimes. I feel bad now that I didn't give you anything. I mean, I...

DUNCAN: Matthew got him something.

WILLIS: ... got a picture of Matthew. Look, look, Matthew got the picture. Yes.

KING: (OFF-MIKE) movie with you. I've got to get something from it.

WILLIS: That's right, that's right.

DUNCAN: You're in his movie?

KING: I'm in the untitled King...

WILLIS: He was in "The Kid" -- the untitled Larry King project.

DUNCAN: You didn't call me?

WILLIS: There's nothing in it for you, man.

DUNCAN: Really, there's always supposed to be...

PEET: Yes, what's up, Bruce?

DUNCAN: You can always make something for me, man.

PEET: What's up?

DUNCAN: What's up with that?

WILLIS: Let me think if there's any part for (OFF-MIKE)

KING: A part for Amanda?

WILLIS: In this one? No.

DUNCAN: No part for me?


DUNCAN: As much as we've been through on "Armageddon."

KING: Man came back from Australia.

DUNCAN: From Australia. And you know what the bad thing is? When they had stunts on "Armageddon," I didn't have a stunt person.

WILLIS: Are we on the air?

DUNCAN: Him, Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi all took out one day. I look around, I'm surrounded by stunt people. I'm like, where's my stunt -- well, Michael, you're not that well-known now. I'm like, what do you mean I'm not that well-known yet?

PEET: You're dispensable.

WILLIS: No, they couldn't find a guy...

KING: And also no one quite looks like you.

WILLIS: Thank you, Larry. They couldn't find a guy with arms that were about as big as -- you know, this big.

DUNCAN: But I'm slender now, svelte. The word is svelte.

WILLIS: You're like a buggy with...

PEET: Svelte?

DUNCAN: Svelte, svelte. You've heard that word, right?

WILLIS: Like a willow.

KING: I've heard that word. What's next for you?

DUNCAN: I'm reading scripts. That means I'm unemployed.

KING: And you, Amanda, what's next for you?

PEET: I'm reading scripts, I'm unemployed.

KING: Back to City Crab. Back to people's gas.

DUNCAN: No, no, never.

KING: Are you the guy in "Green Mile"? Yes.

WILLIS: Set down some more pipe.

Chicago, hello.

KING: Well, Bruce, you're -- we have about a minute and a half left. This movie, do you build expectations? Do you say to yourself, this is going to be big?

WILLIS: Well, you know, I -- we've all seen the film a couple of times, and it -- I still laugh at it. It still makes us laugh. And that's a pretty good indicator, you know? And especially actors are so hard on themselves, especially with comedy about what works and what's not funny. And people laugh. It's a really fun, silly movie. And everybody's just great in it.

KING: You think it will go?

WILLIS: I think so, I think so.

DUNCAN: I know it will. Him and Matthew Perry's name is in front of the name of the movie, so it's always worked that way. So, yes, it will work.

KING: But Matthew Perry is a movie star?

DUNCAN: But Matthew Perry is a star period. He has big following from "Friends."

WILLIS: He has the No. 1 show in the world. Thank you. Matthew, sorry that you couldn't be here this evening tonight.

DUNCAN: Yes, sorry about that.

KING: He's getting billing.

WILLIS: I know you're working. You're working.

DUNCAN: Sorry about that, Matthew.

KING: Well, Amanda, based on your track record, they shouldn't be too hopeful, right?

PEET: Don't say that.

KING: You said... PEET: Don't say that.

KING: No, but you said it. You were the one who said...

PEET: Yes, but my curse is over now that...

KING: The curse is over.

WILLIS: We lifted the spell.

KING: How do you think it's going to do?

PEET: I have the highest hope. It's going to do great.

DUNCAN: There you go.

PEET: Sell, sell.

DUNCAN: There you go.

KING: As always, good to see you.

WILLIS: Likewise, good to see you.

KING: Mike.

DUNCAN: Thank you, man.

KING: Great.

Best of luck here.

PEET: Thank you.

KING: Our guests have been Bruce Willis, Michael Clarke Duncan, Amanda Peet. They all star in the forthcoming movie "The Whole Nine Yards". It opens one week from tonight.

Stay tuned for CNN NEWSSTAND, and don't forget the debate Tuesday night, 9:00 Eastern. We'll be the moderator.

Tomorrow night, Tony Robbins.

Thanks for joining us from Los Angeles.

Say good night, Bruce.

WILLIS: Good night, from LARRY KING LIVE. How was that? Good?



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