Bruce Willis, accused of being a "pain in the ass" on the set of Tears of the Sun, says its filmmakers were a pain, too. A pain in the head.
Willis has sued the studio behind the 2003 action-war movie over a combat sequence that the star alleges hurt his forehead and caused "extreme mental, physical and emotional pain and suffering."
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 20 in Los Angeles, was made public Monday by The Smoking Gun. Revolution Studios and Joe Pancake, a crew member identified on IMDb.com as the special-effects foreman of Tears of the Sun, are named as defendants.
Revolution said Monday it could not address the lawsuit. Pancake could not be located for comment.
At issue are the movie-making events of Oct. 21, 2002. In the complaint, Willis says he took "a projectile" to the forehead as he shot a scene simulating a spray of bullets. Willis blames the injury on a negligently placed and detonated squib, a special-effects explosive that substitutes for real, live gunfire.
Willis accuses Revolution and Pancake of negligence and of exposing him and others to "ultrahazardous activity." His lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Movie star injuries on set are not uncommon; lawsuits are. Halle Berry (broken arm on Gothika, debris to the eye on Die Another Day) and Nicole Kidman (cracked rib, bum knee on Moulin Rouge) are two banged-up actors who didn't limp off to court. (At least not yet.) Hollywood's most infamous on-the-set accident--the 1982 helicopter mishap on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie that killed Vic Morrow and two child actors--resulted in the most serious kind of legalese--a manslaughter trial.
Specifics on Willis' injury were not known, outside of the lawsuit noting that the Die Hard icon is still incurring medical expenses. A call to Willis' publicist was not returned Monday.
Tears of the Sun, shot mainly in Hawaii, was released in March 2003. It grossed an underwhelming $43.7 million domestically, and another $42.3 million overseas--the cumulative take still short of the $110 million spent on its producing and marketing, per BoxOfficeMojo.com.
In the film, Willis, "a universally known motion picture star and celebrity," per his lawsuit, played a Navy SEAL officer sent to war-torn Africa to rescue a doctor (Monica Bellucci).
Willis and director Antoine Fuqua clashed during production, with Fuqua telling BBC.com that Willis was the biggest "pain in the ass" he'd ever worked with.
"We just didn't get along," Fuqua said. "We got along off camera, but shooting, we just didn't get along."
Alleged forehead issues aside, the 49-year-old Willis has recovered from the box-office bruising he endured with Tears of the Sun. By IMBb.com's count, he has five films in production or post-production, including Alpha Dog, a true-crime drama costarring Justin Timberlake.