Audiences have been drawn to 1v1 conflicts since the days of Roman gladiatorial games and folk wrestling. Today, the popularity of UFC, boxing and wrestling proves that, even after thousands of years, fights are still entertaining for audiences. Watching trained fighters, however, is altogether different than watching normal, untrained, people fight. This unpredictable and often sloppy fighting, as the audiences of Jerry Springer can tell you, might be even more entertaining. It should be no mystery then that a fight between two celebrities will have movie fans and pop-culture enthusiasts clambering for more details. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
In a world where even Reality TV is scripted and contrived, it can be easy to forget that film and TV stars are real people with real emotions, and sometimes those emotions and those people clash. It will interest you to know that behind the scenes of some of your favorite movies, your favorite stars were duking it out, that the intensity between certain actors on camera was so much more than acting.
This list captures the best on-set celebrity fights, some famous, some rather unknown. That means that those celebrity fights that happened off-set, like Orlando “Legolas” Bloom swinging at Justin Bieber in an Ibiza restaurant while Leo DiCaprio giggled and cheered in the background, will, sadly, be left off. There are, surprisingly, still 10 memorable battles to discuss in this list of on-set celebrity fistfights.
10. Tom Hardy vs. Alejandro Inarritu
Likely more rumor than reality, this mythical battle makes the list because of how prevalent these whispers were and really still are. It is said that during the filming of The Revenant, film bad boy Tom Hardy fought with director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Hardy, however, has since denied those reports with some flavor. In an interview with News Corp Australia Network, Hardy exclaimed, “If I’d have hit Alejandro you’d know about it,” he said. “He wouldn’t look the way he looks today.” It appears that the rumors began to fly when a picture of Hardy choking Inarritu made the rounds, a picture that Hardy had made into a t-shirt. Is this simply the exaggeration of a harmless moment or are they downplaying something more serious? You be the judge.
9. Tom Cruise vs. Rob Lowe
The Outsiders is filled with a young, energetic cast, who would almost all later become superstars, and loads of fisticuffs, so it should be no surprise that some of the physicality of the film leaked into real life. Rob Lowe admitted that during the filming he and the ever-strange Tom Cruise got into it. “We all beat the living s**t out of one another. We really did,” Lowe said. “I got one clean shot on Tom, and Tom is such a competitive lunatic – which is what I love about him – but the next thing you know he’s ready to kill me!” This is a pretty risky move for Lowe. While Cruise may not have been the couch-jumping-mad version of himself that he would later become, there was likely always a touch of crazy in ol’ Tommy boy.
8. Jamie Foxx vs LL Cool J
As the only fight on the list with a police report to back it up, the fistfight between Jamie Foxx and LL Cool J on the set of Any Given Sunday is one in which the validity is not debated. It began when, according to Miami Police reports, Mr. Cool (or is it Mr. J?) punched Foxx in the face to “make the scene more believable.” After Foxx was then hit in the back of the head while walking away from the altercation, he turned and returned pleasantries of the fist to LL’s face. Apparently both faces in the fight received minor injuries. Since then, the two men have squashed the beef, which is a good thing considering they’re both kicking 50s door down.
7. Roman Polanski vs. Faye Dunaway
In a tale that may well be pure fabrication, the disturbances on the set of Chinatown make this list simply because of how extreme they are. Roman Polanski is himself a treasure trove of movie trivia, but the battle between him and Faye Dunaway is almost as memorable as the masterpiece film they created together. As the story goes, tensions were already high between Dunaway and Polanski when the former asked to use the bathroom while waiting to shoot a scene. Polanski is said to have denied her, telling to sit and wait instead. When he returned to her after some time, Dunaway apparently threw a cup of pee into his face. Yep, you read that right. Pee. While it may not be a fistfight, it turns out Polanski didn’t like pee in his face and reportedly had some pretty strong words for her in return. Legend or truth? We may never know, but the story is worth the telling.
6. George Clooney vs. David O. Russell
While working together on the set of Three Kings, George Clooney and director David O. Russell were involved in a choking match. In an interview with Playboy, Clooney recalled this fight. After watching Russell kick and scream at a cast member, then berate the assistant director who later walked off set, Clooney approached the fire-breathing director. “I was trying to make things work, so I went over and put my arm around him. I said, ‘David, it’s a big day. But you can’t shove, push, or humiliate people who aren’t allowed to defend themselves.’ He turned on me and said, ‘Why don’t you just worry about your f***ed-up act? You’re being a d*ck. You want to hit me? You want to hit me? Come on, p***y, hit me.’ I’m looking at him like he’s out of his mind. Then he started banging me on the head with his head. He goes, ‘Hit me, you p***y. Hit me.’ Then he got me by the throat and I went nuts. I had him by the throat. I was going to kill him. Kill him. Finally, he apologized, but I walked away… It was truly, without exception, the worst experience of my life.”
5. James Franco vs. Tyrese Gibson
The feud between James Franco and Tyrese Gibson on the set of the much-maligned film Annapolis is fairly well documented at this point. It is said to have started because of James Franco’s then commitment to his acting. “James Franco is a Method actor,” said Tyrese. “I respect Method actors, but he never snapped out of character. Whenever we’d have to get in the ring for boxing scenes, and even during practice, the dude was full-on hitting me. I was always like, ‘James, lighten up, man. We’re just practicing.’ He never lightened up.” James has since apologized for his actions, but Tyrese doesn’t forgive and forget so easily. In the same interview, he joked that, if he could blow up a celebrity’s house Michael Bay style, it would be Franco’s. Watch your back Franco.
4. Sylvester Stallone vs. Richard Gere
This entry is easily the funniest exchange on the list. Sly Stallone reports that during the filming of The Lords of Flatbush, he and Richard Gere got involved in a little scuffle over some greasy mustard and a Toyota. In an interview recounting the conflict, Stallone remembers eating a hotdog in his Toyota when Gere “climbs in with a half a chicken covered in mustard with grease nearly dripping out of the aluminum wrapper.” After Sly told him that “that thing is going to drip all over the place,” Gere responded simply, “Don’t worry about it.”
Stallone then goes on to tell how Gere “proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on [Stallone’s] thigh.” Why was Gere eating over Stallone’s lap you ask? No clue, but this condiment assault was the last straw for Rocky, leading him to lash out, elbow Gere in the side of the head and push him out of the car. Legend has it that Stallone still hates mustard to this day.
3. Bill Murray vs Chevy Chase
During the filming of the second season of Saturday Night Live, there was an infamous fight between, then soon-to-be Caddyshack co-stars, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase. Chase had left SNL after season one and Murray was essentially named as his replacement. When Chase came back to host the show, the two had a spat. Murray famously called Chase a “Medium Talent” when the two confronted each other back stage.
Murray described the events in an interview in 2012. “It was really a Hollywood fight, a ‘Don’t touch my face!’ kind of thing,” he recalled. “Chevy is a big man, I’m not a small guy, and we were separated by my brother Brian [Doyle-Murray], who comes up to my chest. So it was kind of a non-event. It was just the significance of it. It was an Oedipal thing, a rupture. Because we all felt mad he had left us, and somehow I was the anointed avenging angel, who had to speak for everyone. But Chevy and I are friends now. It’s all fine.”
2. Tom Hardy vs. Shia LaBeouf
This story came out following an interview with Shia LaBeouf in which the young star stated that he and Tom Hardy came to blows during the filming of Lawless, after which “[Hardy] never did that roughhouse stuff with me again.” Now if the idea of Bane (see also Bronson, Mad Max and Warrior) being beaten up by the kid from Even Stevens is hard to believe, read what Hardy had to say about the incident. “I got knocked out by Shia LaBeouf, actually,” Hardy said. “In Wettest County, apparently.” Hardy continued straight-faced, “He knocked me out sparko. Out cold. He’s a bad, bad boy. He is. He’s quite intimidating as well. He’s a scary dude.”
Wondering how it all got started? “He just attacked me,” Hardy said. “He was drinking moonshine. I was wearing a cardigan, and er, went down. I woke up in Pnut’s [Hardy’s personal trainer] arms. He was concerned for me. I was like, ‘What was that? It was lightning fast.'” And he said, ‘That was Shia.’”
1. Rip Torn vs. Norman Mailer
It won’t be shocking to learn that a man that goes by the name of Rip Torn is on a list of celebrity fistfights. Seriously Rip Torn is the equivalent of calling yourself Cut Sliced. During the filming of Maidstone, the rolling camera caught what might be the strangest fight ever filmed. That’s right, the entire thing was filmed and even left in the final cut. Torn, fresh from eating a batch of crazy pills, hits his director and co-star Norman Mailer over the head with a hammer. The two then roll around on the grass yelling at each other until the bout ends in a stalemate, with Mailer clamped onto Torn’s ear with a bite so vicious Mike Tyson would deduct style points. If this fight wasn’t caught on film, it would never be believable, but yet here we are.