Earlier this week, Bruce Willis exited the next unnamed project from Woody Allen, who has been making some of the best films of his career as of late, including the recent, hugely undervalued Irrational Man. Now, the reasons for Willis’ exit is still pretty vague, as there have been a variety of conflicting reports, including one that suggests that he was having trouble remembering his lines. Regardless, it looks like Willis will likely go down as never having appeared in a Woody Allen film, and his absence has made way for Allen’s first pairing with Steve Carell, who was announced as Willis’s replacement earlier today.
Carell certainly seems like a more appropriate performer for Allen’s melancholic, comedic musings, but I must say that I was looking forward to see what a Willis-Allen match-up would have looked like in the final product. Though mostly the de-facto spokesman for empty machismo, the Die Hard star has proven a tremendously effective presence in films ranging from Wes Anderson‘s magnificent Moonrise Kingdom to Rian Johnson’s excellent Looper to The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. His best bit of acting may have been in his small Fast Food Nation role under Richard Linklater, who gave him an excellent monologue ambivalently equating eating meat with eating shit. Oh well, another missed opportunity; it’s not like there isn’t every reason to think Carell can handle such a role with aplomb. He was the best part of Bennett Miller‘s odd, mordant Foxcatcher by a mile, and as a comedian, there are few performers currently at work who have as sharp a set of chops as he does. Allen’s film also stars Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeannie Berlin, Corey Stoll, and Paul Schneider, so Carell shouldl be in good company, whenever we get a full look at the new film.