Do you worry about your oldest daughter Rumer’s acting career and her initiation into young Hollywood?
Well, sure, as a father I’m concerned about the welfare of my kids. For my daughter, who is looking into a career in acting, it’s just as good a job as doing anything else. She knows it’s a difficult racket, tough to break into. If she can break in a little easier because somehow people think acting is passed on genetically, then she’s gotten a great education from her mom and dad about the illusions of Hollywood and all the things that people think it is and what it isn’t. I’m not concerned about it. People talk about Hollywood like it’s someplace different from every place else in the United States, but it really isn’t. It’s just the same.
How was it filling in for Letterman for a day? [when Letterman was recuperating from shingles in 2003, he had a Hollywood who’s-who fill in as guest hosts. Willis was the very first to substitute for the ailing late-night star.] And would you ever consider your own talk show?
Scary. One of the scariest things I’ve done as an adult. In my theatrical career. I wouldn’t want to do it. I think David Letterman’s really good at what he does, and I always have a fun time on the show. I like being in the chair and not behind the desk. It was fun, although I was nervous. I would probably relax into it the way he does and just . . . he just tries to make people laugh. And I always have a fun time on that show. It’s one of the few times I can do what I’m doing now, and that’s promoting a film, but when I go on Letterman, I can just horse around and do silly things. Clownish things. But, no, I don’t think I’d want to have my own show, no.
Do you think Live Free or Die Hard would have been a better film if it had been rated R?
I don’t think it makes any difference. I think the film you’re gonna see, if you didn’t know what the rating was, it’s pretty hardcore. It’s as hardcore as it can be without getting thrown out of the room.
But will fans of the original smashmouth movies — which featured pretty raucous language — still want to see a PG-13 version?
I think it’s just something to talk about. ’Cause we all need something to talk about, don’t we? It’s a surprise to me that the MPAA [Motion Picture Association of America] is still so parochial about trying to protect the public. Back when they had a thing called the Hays Commission, it seemed to me that they were trying to protect people from the sin of movies. Things have changed since then.
So you think movies are no longer sinful?
Oh, they’re plenty sinful. Don’t kid yourself. They’re just entertainment.
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