When Bruce Willis broke into a space shuttle while filming Michael Bay’s ‘Armageddon’
(Credit: Netflix)

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When Bruce Willis broke into a space shuttle while filming Michael Bay’s ‘Armageddon’

Bruce Willis is a legend whose undying legacy lives through his action films. A pop-cultural icon who cemented his name with the Die Hard franchise, Willis is a recipient of various awards and accolades, including Emmys, Golden Globes etc., besides becoming a distinct category at the Razzie Awards

While the 66-year-old actor has been a big name in the industry for decades, he was recently diagnosed with aphasia which led him to declare his retirement, breaking the hearts of fans all over the world who could not cope with the news that the veteran actor is “stepping away” from cinema. 

While he lives in our hearts forever, it is important to take a look at his works once in a while and cherish his penchant for a distinct kind of role. 

In 1998, Willis collaborated with Michael Bay for his film Armageddon. The late ’90s was the peak period for Michael Bay’s mayhem and madness to overtake the screens. This sci-fi disaster film featured the iconic Willis alongside a starry ensemble cast, namely Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thronton, Liv Tyler etc. 

In the film, when a rogue Texas-sized asteroid bears the impending end of the world within 18 days, Dan Truman from NASA finds out that the only way to save humanity from this impending disaster would be by drilling a nuclear bomb into the surface of the asteroid and making it disintegrate into several pieces. He contacts the renowned driller Harry Stamper who agrees to be a part of this dangerous mission along with his own disparate crew. 

As the problem approaches, Harry and his crew members brace themselves for this enormous mission; Harry has one more problem to encounter. He disapproves of A.J, one of the crewmates who is, according to him, not good enough for his daughter, Grace. 

While critics were let down by the alleged unrealistic premise, it was read by film scholars to be a work masterfully crafted to celebrate the working potential of men amidst the utter chaos and explosion. Armageddon was also a box office hit like most Michael Bay films. However, during the production, Willis did something hilarious that was recounted by bay much later. While shooting in the US space centre NASA, Bruce Willis allegedly tried to break into an actual NASA space shuttle during a sequence; Willis had informed Bay of his plans in advance. 

Bay said, “They stopped prepping it for one hour, for us. We are on the gantry [the Orbiter Access Arm, which allows access into the shuttle], and Bruce was able to walk in. He goes to me, ‘Mike, we’re gonna do one take; the second take, I’m going to make a run for it and I’m going to go inside the shuttle.’”

Always the daredevil, The Sixth Sense actor stayed true to his words, and while it was a great source of amusement to the crew, the NASA officials were less than happy with Willis’ antics, and Bay had to intervene to lessen the damage. Bay recalled, “Bruce is about to break into the space shuttle … and these guys, all in suits, fully masked up, they’re like [wagging his finger side to side], ‘Uh, uh, uh!’”

Breaking into a space shuttle can be a real-life disaster which explains the NASA officials’ extreme precautionary measures but to imagine the 90s icon attempt to do something so daring is very much a part of his image and character, and a fond memory to reminisce.