Iconic action movie star Bruce Willis is reportedly battling early-onset memory loss, and is churning out straight-to-video releases to earn as much money as possible while he's still able to work.
The Die Hard star's health has been the subject of renewed speculation online in recent weeks, as fans question the 66-year-old's appearance in dozens of low-budget, critically panned films.
According to IMDB, the former A-lister is starring in no fewer than 11 virtually unknown releases in 2022 – Fortress 3, Paradise City, White Elephant, Wire Room, Corrective Measures, Die Like Lovers, The Wrong Place, Fortress: Sniper's Eye, Vendetta, A Day to Die and Gasoline Alley.
Popular YouTube channel Half in the Bag discussed the phenomenon in a video last month titled "The Bruce Willis Fake Movie Factory", which touched on industry rumours that Willis is "fed lines" through an earpiece.
Matt Eskandari, who directed several recent Willis films including Hard Kill, Survive the Night and Trauma Centre, chimed into the comments section of the video to address the memory loss rumours.
"I read somewhere that Bruce Willis has dementia, that's he's not really aware of what's going on around him," one user wrote.
Eskandari replied, "Yes this is true my guy I directed four movies with him so I know first hand. It's [a] sad situation seeing a legend like Bruce deteriorating right in front of your eyes. I saw it while working with him [the] last few years."
Replying to another user who said Willis had "fallen from grace" after working with directors like Quentin Tarantino, Brian De Palma and Wes Anderson, Eskandari wrote bluntly, "He has dementia."
Gossip magazine OK! first published rumours in January 2021 that Willis had been battling memory loss, and was spending more time with his family.
That came after Willis was booted from a Los Angeles chemist for not wearing a mask during Covid-19. He later apologised, saying in a statement that it was "an error in judgment".
But an "insider" told OK! that Willis "simply forgot" to bring the bandana hanging around his neck up to his face. "Those close to Bruce have been helping him out, and trying to maintain the secret," they said.
They said while he had not been formally diagnosed with early-onset dementia, "he's been waging a personal war for a number of years".
According to the report, Willis was trying to spend more time with his wife Emma Heming Willis and their young daughters Mabel and Evelyn, as well as making amends with ex-wife Demi Moore and their adult children Rumer, Scout and Tallulah.
"Between Demi and Emma, the family has always ensured Bruce has the support and care he might need at any given time," the insider said. "It's sad that people are making fun of him."
According to OK!, Willis was seen using an earpiece to feed him lines as far back as 2015 during his Broadway debut in Misery. The insider claimed he was seriously struggling during filming of M. Night Shyamalan's 2019 film Glass.
"While filming Glass, staffers worked around him by cutting and editing and having him overdub lines because he struggled to remember and/or deliver them," they told the publication.
"In most scenes on Glass he's hooded, and they used stand-in and body doubles to replace him. On set, he wouldn't smile and was always chaperoned by an assistant to guide him while walking."
They added, "The good news is that although there is the real concern of dementia fears, it largely has not impacted his ability to work in Hollywood – and in true super hero form – he won't slow down because new technology like earpieces allows actors of his calibre not to skip a beat."