Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Moonlighting’: How Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard Performed Epic Stunt in First Episode

‘Moonlighting’: How Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard Performed Epic Stunt in First Episode

Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd electrified fans with their chemistry on Moonlighting. However, an epic stunt made the pilot stand out. In an interview with IndieWire, Glenn Gordon Caron, the creator of the show, dissected the heart-pounding initial scene that foreshadowed Willis’ action-hero chops.

It was during the show’s 1985 inaugural two-hour episode that the creative team realized they had struck gold with the stellar performances of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd. In this pivotal Moonlighting scene, the two detectives found themselves descending a ladder suspended high above the vibrant and bustling streets of Los Angeles. While seeking a climactic moment for the show’s premiere, Caron admitted uncertainty regarding the precise location for this action-packed sequence.

According to the show’s creator, his initial concept involved placing Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd’s characters in a precarious situation between life and death at an airport. However, his vision evolved and he ultimately decided to set the show on the iconic rooftop of the Capitol Records building.

Regrettably, he would soon discover that the renowned music landmark lacked the necessary structural integrity to accommodate people and objects. What makes this situation even more intriguing is that, during his quest for the ideal venue to execute this extravagant action stunt, the creator of Moonlighting was uncertain about how to seamlessly incorporate it into the plot.

How the Crew Picked the Location for the Iconic ‘Moonlighting’ Stunt with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard

Ultimately, Caron and his team focused their attention on the Eastern Columbia Building. This sturdy structure not only provided a fitting backdrop for Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd but also offered the film crew ample space to carry out their duties effectively.

The building’s colossal clock stood at the heart of it all, offering the Moonlighting team an abundance of filming possibilities. Caron said that the clock was visible from all four sides, with each section, except the one facing the street, adorned with a rooftop overhang.

The building’s overhangs provided numerous benefits, making it the perfect location for various reasons. Firstly, Caron mentioned, “You can follow the sun throughout the day,” while the other overhang offered Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd a secure place to stand, avoiding any “outrageous” or perilous situations. Additionally, these overhangs granted ample flexibility for the Moonlighting crew to navigate around the actors, capturing unforgettable shots.

During the filming of the pilot of Moonlighting, Willis and Shepard spent an impressive six days atop the building. Shepard admitted to being “terrified” during the ordeal. However, it was all in a day’s work for the iconic show. “You had to be really ready for anything on ‘Moonlighting,’ and everybody was,” Shepard said. “It was a game changer for my whole life, ‘Moonlighting.’”