Sometimes when actors are cast to appear in the same film, things don’t exactly go swimmingly. Indeed, movie history is replete with tales of on-set fights and arguments ensuing when the cameras aren’t rolling. Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf got in a scuffle, for example, when they appeared opposite each other in the 2012 motion picture Lawless. And, as was reported at the time, LaBeouf sensationally knocked Hardy out in a fit of rage. However, little was known about what precipitated the attack – until now, that is. Yes, Hardy has finally revealed what led to the knockout blow – and needless to say, you’ll be flabbergasted by the reason. (And if you’re a fan of thrilling fight scenes acted out on the silver screen, too, check out our list of “The 25 Best Action Movies On Netflix Right Now.”)
It’s fair to say that Hardy’s career has gone from strength to strength since he made his acting debut in 2001’s Band of Brothers. His steady rise through the Hollywood ranks subsequently saw him tackle roles in the likes of Black Hawk Down, Star Trek: Nemesis and RocknRolla.
However, it was in 2008 when Hardy really ascended to another level thanks to his crazed performance in Bronson. That part led to him getting his first taste of movie honors the following year, when he picked up a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor for his efforts.
And Hardy rose to further prominence with his role in Christopher Nolan’s 2010 mind-bender Inception. Since then, he’s gone on to appear in major blockbusters such as The Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant – and he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles native Shia LaBeouf has had a rather different career trajectory. He began his showbiz life early, for a start, by starring on the Disney Channel’s kids’ comedy show Even Stevens while in his early teens. The young actor’s performance even landed him a Daytime Emmy Award in 2003.
Then LaBeouf made a transition to the silver screen, notably appearing in ’00s flicks such as I, Robot, Constantine and Disturbia. He hit the big time, however, after being cast as lead Sam Witwicky in Michael Bay’s 2007 Transformers.
Indeed, LaBeouf went on to appear in yet more big-budget motion pictures after Transformers’ release: namely Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. The star’s personal antics have arguably taken the spotlight away from his professional work in recent times, though.
But what ties these two rather disparate performers together? Well, there’s one thing in particular: the 2012 movie Lawless. Hardy and LaBeouf crossed paths in the John Hillcoat-directed crime drama; there, they played two of the Bondurant brothers, who have a turf war with the police in the film.
However, it’s what happened when the cameras weren’t rolling that was really lawless. That’s because – allegedly under the influence of moonshine for the role – the unpredictable LaBeouf took it upon himself to punch his co-star, ultimately knocking him out in the process.
Speaking to Den of Geek in 2011, Hardy recalled, “[LaBeouf] 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.” The actor added of his co-star, “He just attacked me. He was drinking moonshine. I was wearing a cardigan and, er, went down.”
Luckily, Hardy’s personal trainer Pnut was on hand to help him back to his feet. Hardy went on, “[Pnut] was concerned for me. I was like, ‘What was that? It was lightning fast.’ And he said, ‘That was Shia.’ I said, ‘F**kin’ hell. Can we go home now?’ ‘No, we’ve still got three weeks to finish.’”
And while the attack may have seemed out of the blue for Hardy, the incident may nevertheless have stemmed from two things. For one, LaBeouf stayed in character during filming – something that may have led to the scuffle in the first place. It’s also been reported that both actors didn’t exactly click with each other on set – which could be what LaBeouf was alluding to in a 2011 interview with Details.
Apparently irritated by Hardy and Jason Clarke’s attitudes towards money, LaBeouf told the magazine, “They’re talking about Ferraris and s**t, like it’s a cool car. If Clarke pulled up in a Ferrari right now, my idea wouldn’t be, ‘What a cool f**king guy!’ It would be, ‘Look at this clown.’ I think the fact that I despise that stuff keeps me safe. I hang on to my dirt. I like my dirt.”
On the subject of his and Hardy’s brawl, meanwhile, LaBeouf dismissively quipped that his co-star “never did that roughhouse stuff with [him] again.” Yet, in spite all of that insult flinging, Hardy revealed in a 2018 interview that he had a lot of respect for his fellow performer.
In the 2018 Esquire profile on LaBeouf, Hardy said, “A performer is asked to do two things: to be disciplined and accountable, communicative and a pleasure to work with. And then, within a split second, they’re asked to be a psychopath. Authentically.”
And Hardy further complimented LaBeouf’s mental strength, adding, “It takes a very strong human being to sustain a genuine sense of wellbeing through that baptism of fire. Drama is not known to attract stable types.” But he wasn’t finished showering LaBeouf with praise.
Indeed, Hardy went on to comment on the Transformers star’s believability, stating, “Shia has the ability to land scene after scene that builds a reality from utter fantasy. We know the robots aren’t really there. They just aren’t. When I watch Shia, they are.” Judging by this account, it may just be that LaBeouf’s engrossment in his Lawless character ultimately prompted his attack on Hardy.
Thought that was the only instance of LaBeouf playing up, though? Think again. In fact, he’s been making a habit of it in recent years. Whether it’s attending the Cannes Film Festival with a paper bag over his head or storming out of a press conference for no apparent reason, the actor has certainly pulled some unusual stunts in his time.
But perhaps the most alarming story to emerge regarding the 31-year-old came in 2017 when reports alleged that LaBeouf had been arrested in Georgia for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. The incident seems to have left the star chastened, though, as he told Esquire in 2018, “What went on in Georgia was mortifying.”
As far as upcoming projects are concerned, however, 2018 is set to be a big year for both actors. Hardy, for instance, will assume the character of Venom in the film of the same name, tentatively slated for an October 2018 release and based on the popular Marvel Comics franchise.
Meanwhile, LaBeouf is slated to appear alongside Dakota Johnson in The Peanut Butter Falcon – a movie that focuses on a boy with Down syndrome who aspires to break into professional wrestling. And while there’s no word on another Hardy/LaBeouf collaboration as of yet, on the evidence, it’s probably not hard to see why.