The June/July Esquire cover with Bruce Willis
Tom Chiarella meets Bruce Willis on a Thursday between 1.32 and 3.45 PM. Tom knows this time Bruce will not say a word about his personal life. He must have been talked a lot about it while he was with Demi Moore and also while he was separating from her. Bruce is done with sharing even if this is sometimes hard because he is talkative and, oh well, what makes a good story if not the very personal?
Bruce is a newlywed and expecting a baby. His fourth with his latest wife, model Emma Heming.
“I’m happy every day”, he says. This he repeats many times, as if to assert that there is no conflict in him and thus no story.
As Bruce avoids personal storytelling, Tom has to catch the reader’s eye somehow. So he does what any good observer would do: try to have a catch of the story, something very personal on Bruce that will make the reader want more or make him find out what’s going on there. So this is what Tom writes in the beggining of the story:
Five times he voids his bladder. Five urinations over a little more than two hours. The bathroom is at the other end of the hotel suite. From the moment he excuses himself to the one where he sits back down again to talk about his movies, Bruce Willis stares into the palm of his hand, texting someone. This pattern inadvertently becomes the structure of the afternoon, as the subject changes every time he returns.”
The story develops around the peeing. Each paragraph starts with “After the first peeing, Bruce … ” and the reader can identify the kind of information he reads about based on the physiological aspect. But in the end Tom gives us the clue.
Willis blames all the peeing on a long morning of fruit juice.
Esquire US is so freaking good because 1. authors and subjects of stories know each other from previous encounters 2. the subject is always portrayed as so very human – not a superstar, not a VIP we should praise to, but an ordinary man that loves, sleeps, pees. The glamour is not given by the author but, at most, by 3rd party figures that get in touch with the superstar subjects (author and subject go to dinner and waiter goes WHOAAA when he recognizes the subject) 3. authors are very good observers, they note down each gesture the subject does, every habit he has and then integrates all in the bigger picture of the story.
You can read the entire Bruce Willis story HERE.