“All my love and respect to my big brother Bruce Willis,” the Old director, 51, tweeted on Wednesday, March 30. “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 Pennsylvania native directed the Die Hard actor, 67, in the 1999 film The Sixth Sense, which was nominated for six Academy Awards. The following year, they reunited for Unbreakable, in which Willis played David Dunn, a man with superhuman strength. The Moonlighting alum later reprised the role in 2016’s Split and 2019’s Glass, both of which were also directed by Shyamalan.
The Signs director has previously talked about how he feels he owes his career to Willis, who signed on to The Sixth Sense when Shyamalan was still unknown. “Our chemistry is so good, and we believe in each other so much,” the Oscar nominee told Tass in January 2019. “He was my hero. As a kid I had a Die Hard poster up on my wall forever. And when I was writing The Sixth Sense and there was this Die Hard poster, I thought, ‘What about that guy? He could play it.'”
Though Shyamalan and Willis have worked together several times, the filmmaker previously identified Glass as the project that has the most “sentimentality” about their relationship. “He’s always been the big brother in my life for [me] since I was a little kid,” the director told The New Indian Express in November 2020. “He’s the one that took the big risk on me and protected me.”
Earlier this week, Willis’ family revealed that he is stepping away from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia.
“To Bruce’s amazing supporters, as a family we wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities,” his daughter Rumer Willis wrote on Wednesday in an Instagram statement that was also signed by her mom, Demi Moore, Bruce’s wife, Emma Heming Willis, and Rumer’s sisters, Scout, Tallulah, Mabel and Evelyn. “As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him.”