Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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Those of us that are under the age of 30 probably only know Bruce Willis as an action star that appears in blockbuster movies. That wasn’t always the case, as Willis was once a lower named actor that got his first big break as the star of “Moonlighting”. Alongside Cybill Shepherd, Willis helped “Moonlighting” to become a big hit for ABC in the late 1980’s as the show reached the top 10 in ratings. That standing wouldn’t last forever, unfortunately, as ratings declined fast thanks to some things that happened on the set including a writers strike.
“Moonlighting” focused around Willis and Shepherd working as private detectives and mixed drama and comedy. It turns out the set also did a good job of that. Before the show started, Shepherd was a bigger name than Willis as she had starred in movies throughout the 1970’s, but never quite hit it big as an A-lister. She was set to be the star of the show, though that would change when American audiences were introduced to Willis.
Audiences were hooked on the young actor, and producers certainly took note. Throughout the course of the show, more attention was paid to Willis’ character, David Addison, and Shepherd was none too happy about it. Things got even worse when Willis was tabbed to be the star of the 1988 hit movie “Die Hard”. With the film’s success, Willis turned his attention to movies and seemed disinterested on the “Moonlighting” set.
Jay Daniel was one of the producers on “Moonlighting” and he said that Willis started to not get along with Shepherd and many members of the crew. In an interview, Daniel said that “Everybody knows there was a friction between the two of them on the stage...Over the years, he went from being the crew’s best friend and just being grateful for the work and all of that to realizing he was going to be a movie star and wanting to move on...That sometimes made the set a very unpleasant place to be.”
Just to put the icing on the cake, Shepherd got pregnant with twins, so her shooting schedule for “Moonlighting” couldn’t be done easily and the writers had to put a pregnancy in the show. Willis also said that having the two get pregnant meant them getting together in bed, and that killed the sexual tension that made the show interesting. Producer Glenn Gordon Caron ended up leaving the show because of how difficult it was to get everybody on the same page.
Caron said that “I don’t think Cybill understood how hard the workload was going to be,” while Shepherd says that Caron said either he was going to leave the show, or she was. So Willis was off filming movies while Shepherd had to take many breaks due to her pregnancy, all while producers and writers were stressed out about the direction of the show. It was a perfect storm for disaster on the that had started out so well.
There were also rumors that Shepherd rubbed much of the cast and crew the wrong way, which really didn’t help things. Apparently she had not been reading the scripts and showed up at the last minute for filming sessions completely unprepared. People were dropping like flies left and right trying to make the show a success, but nothing was working.
Of course, Willis is still a big star and Shepherd has had success on television in the years since. Shepherd talked about her time on “Moonlighting” and was surprisingly positive. She said that she reunited with Willis to record commentary for the show’s DVDs, saying that “it was wonderful to see him again.” She did admit, however, that they would have their squabbles before filming and it actually helped create tension between the characters. Willis, on the other hand, doesn’t talk much about “Moonlighting” these days. He’s also had his feuds with movie producers and directors (such as Kevin Smith) throughout the years, so maybe everyone on set was just difficult to work with.