He's not missing in action

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Action stars might lose their currency as they move into their 50s, but Bruce Willis keeps raking in the offers.

The actor, who turned 54 last month, has been in discussions to shoot and fight his way through three action vehicles: a thriller for NuImage/Millennium titled "Inventory," the CIA tale "Red" for Summit and the mob biopic "Scarpa" for Morgan Creek.

In "Inventory," Willis, who is in negotiations, would play a detective on the trail of a murderer.

In "Red," Willis would portray a former black-ops agent who has gone into retirement but is forced back into action when a high-tech assassin comes a callin' to threaten him and his girlfriend. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian are producing and Erich and Jon Hoeber are writing the screenplay, which is based on the WildStorm/ DC Comic. DC's Gregory Noveck is exec producing.

The "Twilight" studio has made an offer on "Red," and Willis' camp has counteroffered, though those with knowledge of the talks said negotiations could break off without the sides reaching a deal. Producers are out to directors, with Richard Donner said to be among the names on the shortlist. Donner and Willis collaborated on the 2006 cop drama "16 Blocks."

The CAA-repped Willis also has been weighing an offer from Morgan Creek to play the title character in "Scarpa," a mob biopic about Greg Scarpa, an FBI informant who worked under deep cover in New York's Columbo family. Antoine Fuqua, who worked with Willis on Columbia's Special Ops actioner "Tears of the Sun" is attached to direct, though the odds are growing that Willis won't do "Scarpa."

After making his name as an action star through most of the 1990s with the "Die Hard" movies and such pics as "Armageddon" and "Mercury Rising," Willis briefly took on less action-oriented parts in such films as "The Sixth Sense," "The Story of Us" and "The Kid" before returning to his trademark roles. He revived his John McClane character in "Live Free or Die Hard" in 2007.

Even brand-name actors have had trouble keeping action roles going once they hit the midcentury mark. But a select group of older icons including Harrison Ford and Sylvester Stallone have found steady work in action movies into their 50s and even their 60s.

Willis is attached to or is starring in a host of other action movies — the buddy action comedy tentatively titled "A Couple of Dicks" at Warner Bros., likely to be his next movie, and Lionsgate's adaptation of the video game title "Kane & Lynch." He next toplines the Touchstone sci-fi actioner "Surrogates."

Steven Zeitchik reported from New York; Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles.
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