The Bizarre Story Behind Tom Hardy’s Fight With Shia LaBeouf

John Hillcoat’s 2012 crime drama Lawless centers on the three Bondurant brothers living in Franklin County, Va., during Prohibition. As the movie’s title implies, the men do not exactly abide by societal rules; rather, they make moonshine and defend their turf without compromise, butting heads with any law enforcement officers unlucky enough to stray their way.

But the compelling story of Depression-era outlaws battling big city gangsters was overshadowed by reports of Shia LaBeouf’s drunken method acting, as well as on-set tension between cast members Tom Hardy and LaBeouf. In fact, there was enough bad blood between them that the pair allegedly came to blows! 

In 2016, film director John Hillcoat took part in a Reddit AMA during which he confirmed that “there was definitely a fight between them. It escalated to the point where they had to both be restrained.” Rumors flew that LaBeouf had punched Hardy and knocked him out — something many found hard to swallow, given that Hardy was bulking up at the time to play Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and LaBeouf… was not. But, in 2019, LaBeouf set the record straight when he chatted with “Hot Ones” host Sean Evans (via Complex) about the truth behind the fight. Heads up! It is even more bizarre than you might have imagined.

Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf used to wrestle 'all the time'

According to Shia LaBeouf, the actor did get into a fight with Tom Hardy while filming Lawless in 2012, but it had nothing to do with dislike between the two of them. As LaBeouf remembered, he and Hardy used to “wrestle all the time” and he was “a big f**king person, especially then,” per Complex. In particular, LaBeouf recalled a time when Hardy came into his room after a gym session and the two started mock-fighting, which culminated with LaBeouf naked atop Hardy’s shoulders. 

“My girlfriend at the time was over at my house, we were on this balcony,” LaBeouf told Complex. “We saw him [Hardy] and his trainer coming back from the gym. We used to f**k with each other all the time but it just so happened that, this one week, my girlfriend was in town and he runs into the room. …He [Hardy] picked me up and I didn’t have nothing on so now I’m naked on his shoulder. We’re in the hallway, we’re wrestling around.” At some point during the playful altercation, the two came close to the stairs and Hardy accidentally fell down them. But instead of telling everyone what really occurred, Hardy decided to joke about the accident. “For the rest of the shoot, he told everybody I knocked him out,” LaBeouf recounted to Complex.

There's no bad blood between Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf

Despite the wild rumors circulating that the two actors had beef, Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy have always spoken highly of each other to the media. “Shia has the ability to land scene after scene that builds a reality from utter fantasy,” Hardy told Esquire, speaking of LaBeouf’s turn in 2007’s blockbuster action flick Transformers. “We know the robots aren’t really there. They just aren’t. When I watch Shia, they are.”

LaBeouf returned the compliment, and then some. After watching Tom Hardy in 2009’s Bronson, LaBeouf was so taken by his performance that he immediately wrote the actor a fan letter. “That s**t changed my life,” LaBeouf said of Bronson (via Hollywood Reporter). “I went home and wrote Tom a letter saying I was a fan. He sent me a script, and I sent him Lawless. He called me back and said, ‘This is f**king amazing.'” During an interview with E! Online to promote Lawless, LaBeouf further affirmed his castmate, adding, “Tom’s a big draw for actors, because people want to work with him.” Based on all this positivity, it seems like the dust-up between the two was really only meant to get people talking. And indeed it did!

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