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… and although he would later describe it as an “error in judgment,” Steven decided to let the Dalai Lama’s third call go to voicemail and continued to rock Brandi’s delicate world atop the St. Louis Arch.

“This is what awesome feels like,” he assured her.

- - -

Two days later, Steven received a phone call from his agent, Joe Powers, who was raving about a script he had found earlier that morning in Bruce Willis’s trash. It was the story of Mason Storm, a renegade cop who emerges from a coma seven years after discovering an attempted murder plot against a Senate candidate and exacts revenge by killing people and sexing up Kelly LeBrock.

“I like it,” Steven said as he slid a green-tea popsicle across his lips. “Politics is very popular right now.” And with Congress making laws in Washington at that very moment, he was absolutely right.

The only issue left to settle was the title of the film. Joe was worried that “Untitled Bruce Willis Project” was a bit misleading, and he was sure that Steven would prefer something much more ridiculous.

“What is the point of this movie, Joseph?” Steven asked. Joe’s first name was actually Jodie, but Steven thought that was way too gay to say.

“Well, they’re trying to kill you, Steve. And they’re finding it very difficult,” Powers responded.

“So, in other words, I’m hard to kill.”

With that in mind, Steven meditated for a week—the kind of meditation where you focus squarely on connecting your two eyebrows—before settling on a title. His Bruce Lee notepad was filled with possibilities, including “Difficult to Beat Up,” “Seriously, Try Punching This Guy in the Face and See What Happens,” and “Howard’s End.”

In the end he settled on “Sex Fighting,” but Joe, who had been on hold this whole time, informed him that this was already taken by a Linda Lovelace movie.

“How about ‘Hard to Kill’?” Joe said.


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Chapter 34: 1992–2006: The Lean Years