Willis is a notoriously ornery customer if he’s working on a movie that isn’t working (especially when it’s directed by an in-over-his-head Kevin Smith). But Perry, according to his book “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir,” hit it off with the megastar. It helped that they could carouse together, but Perry was quick to note that their appetites were not the same. According to Perry:
“There was a big difference between Bruce and me. Bruce was a partier; I was an addict. Bruce has an on-off button. He can party like crazy, then get a script like ‘The Sixth Sense’ and stop the partying and nail the movie sober. He doesn’t have the gene — he’s not an addict.”
Nevertheless, they bonded. Per Perry:
“Sometimes, at the end of the night, when the sun was just about to come up and everyone else had gone, and the party was over, Bruce and I would just sit and talk. That’s when I saw the real Bruce Willis — a good-hearted man, a caring man, selfless. A wonderful parent. And a wonderful actor. And most important, a good guy.”
Perhaps it was during one of those dawn huddles that Willis expressed his dissatisfaction with the film they were shooting together. He didn’t think it would work. Perry did. And so they made a bet: if “The Whole Nine Yards” was a hit, Willis would have to do a guest spot on “Friends.” The modestly budgeted comedy made $106 million worldwide, and Willis was a man of his word.