Tl;dr: I’m about to ruin some of your favorite childhood heroes.
8. Sylvester Stallone
Rocky Balboa, the man that said no matter who you are, if you have a dream to be something more, you can achieve it. The man that said no matter the challenge, whether it’s boxing a champion for a title shot, or boxing a Russian on steroids for the sake of American history, you have to do your best. Rocky Balboa, the man that could take a punch from anyone, any number of times, and still come out and win the fight. Well, uh, that last one isn’t exactly true as it turns out.
Earnie Shavers, widely regarded as the man with the strongest punch in boxing, auditioned for Rocky III. During the audition, Earnie was taking it easy on Stallone during a sparring session, giving him a few jabs, but pulling his punches so that he wouldn’t hurt the actor/producer/director. Obviously, you don’t want to hurt the person interviewing you for a job. However, Stallone kept egging Earnie on, asking him to “show him something real.” Refusing at first, Earnie caved and gave Stallone a strong punch to the liver.
Immediately, Stallone called off the fight and rushed himself into the bathroom where he was apparently vomiting for quite some time. Stallone later said that the incident “nearly killed him,” although he might have been embellishing a bit. That said, Earnie can at least brag about the day he allegedly almost killed the great Rocky Balboa with a single punch.
7. Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel, the bald-headed man of no known ethnicity that has captured the hearts of America since he appeared in Saving Private Ryan when he tried to save a little French girl. While he’s always played tougher characters, particularly in the Chronicles of Riddick and in the Fast & Furious franchise, it’s no secret that he has an emotional side. After the passing of his best friend, Paul Walker, Vin Diesel was very open about how tragic the incident was and showed America that it’s okay for the tough guy to cry. Hell, he was able to bring comic book fans to tears with three words: We are Groot.
So he’s tough in movies, very open about his emotions and still a tough guy in society’s eyes, how can he have a fault that would make you think of him as not tough? Well, depending on your own hobbies, you might think that Vin Diesel is a bit of a nerd because of his love for World of Warcraft and Dungeons & Dragons. This is a shocking to a lot of people, despite how open Vin Diesel is about his hobbies! He’s been playing for over 20 years, and even wrote the foreword for the book 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons. During the action film xXx Vin Diesel even had a fake tattoo put on his stomach that said Melkor, the name of his Dungeons & Dragons character! You can listen to Vin Diesel talk about strong passion for D&D here, and while in 2016 liking comic books and table games isn’t necessarily seen as overly dorky, think about how life was was before the huge spike in popularity of Marvel movies.
6. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the man men admire for his amazing Cinderella story. Of course, women ignore the fact that he went from a boy from a small town in Austria, to a military man, to a professional body builder, to Mr Universe who later became an actor despite his ridiculous accent, and then said ‘Hey, screw movies, I want to be a politician’ and then he became one. And even after all of that, he still finds time to pop into Reddit to motivate people. No, a lot of women ignore all those things, just because he had an affair with his maid in his own bed. Big deal. Who hasn’t?
Now, Schwarzenegger is probably the most popular action star in the past few decades. He’s been in countless movies, some of them good, like Terminator 2, some of them not so good, like Jingle All The Way. Regardless, even as a 60-something year old man, Schwarzenegger is, and always has been, in peak physical condition. He’s got muscles that won’t quit on him and his accent, in the view of North Americans, is that accent of a thick foreign star. Just think of how iconic his line ‘I’ll be back’ is. I would literally shit myself if he said that to me in real life because of how intimidated I would be.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the world views his voice as tough. While Schwarzenegger dubbed over his own lines in the Spanish version of Terminator 2, saying “Sayonara Baby” instead of “Hasta La Vista, Baby” he actually was denied dubbing the Austrian version of the film because they said he didn’t sound tough enough. According to movie executives, his rural Austrian voice didn’t really match the character he was portraying on screen, and instead, hired a German actor to dub over his lines instead.
5. Roger Moore
The British film star that played James Bond in a number of iconic bond films, such as The Man With The Golden Gun and Octopussy, was more than familiar handling a prop firearm. In fact, he even looked comfortable doing it to the untrained eye. This is particularly shocking, because well, one of the most iconic Bond actors was afraid of handguns.
After an incident in his younger years as a member of the British military, Roger Moore became deaf for a few days after a gun exploded in his hands due to a malfunction. Slowly, he managed to get over his absolute fear of handling weapons, but it never went away. In his Bond films, you can actually see him clench his eyes before every shot, and now that we’ve told it to you, you won’t be able to un-see it!
4. Harrison Ford
We’ve all seen interviews with Harrison Ford. He comes off a lot like the characters he plays in movies: an old hardass who has been worn out after many years of being a tough motherfucker. Hell, he’s Han Solo. Even when the woman of his dreams tells him that she loves him, all he can say is “I know.”
He’s Indiana Jones, and he improvised one of the greatest fights of all time. After a long day of filming, and while having some stomach issues, Harrison Ford just shot his opponent instead of participating in this long, drawn out sword fighting scene. The scene can be found here, and it’s proof that Harrison Ford is a tough dude that just does what he wants. He doesn’t fear anything.
Actually, that’s not true. Harrison Ford isn’t the emotional badass that he portrays in movies, and as well as in interviews. In fact, the reason Harrison Ford acts the way he does in interviews is because he has crippling anxiety. Whether it’s giving a speech in a movie, or talking to an interviewer in front of a live studio audience, he has said that to him, public speaking is a “mixed bag of terror and anxiety.”
3. Hugh Jackman
The grizzly Australian man that we’ve all come to love on screen as Wolverine has a not-so-secret, secret. Before the days that he was one of the X-men, and before he was starring in his own stage productions, Hugh Jackman was acting in a small play. And, during that play, Hugh Jackman did something embarrassing. He pissed his pants.
Now, it wasn’t over stage fright, or at least that’s what Jackman claims. At the time, Jackman was suffering headaches for months at a time and was told by a psychic that he was dehydrated and needed to drink more water. At the same time, Jackman was starring in his first production ever, a theatrical version of Beauty and the Beast. He played Gaston, red tights, knee high boots and all.
The role of Gaston was incredibly physical. During one of the performances, Jackman had drank about four litres of water. Naturally, that water had to come out eventually. While he was singing his musical number, lifting Belle in the air, Jackman and he realized he was about to piss in his pants. And well, when nature calls, you have to pick up the phone.
2. Steven Seagal
Fair warning: this story hasn’t been confirmed by Steven Seagal, but the man he was fighting in this particular tale swears that it is true. It’s easy to see why Steven Seagal, movie tough guy, wants to appear tougher than he probably is in real life, which is why he denies this story. Okay, so here’s the story.
“Judo” Gene LeBell and Steven Seagal were working on a film together, and Steven swears on the lives of his children that during filming, he never had a confrontation with LeBell. However, according to Gene, Seagal was telling people that it was impossible for him to get choked out. So, Gene took him up on that challenge, and grabbed Steven and put him in a rear naked choke. Steve tried to karate chop Gene, before going limp. And, well, Gene said that after passing out, Steve literally shit his pants. So, if someone says you shit yourself, would you accept that story or try to deny it? It doesn’t exactly scream ‘tough guy.’ You can actually listen to Joe Rogan talk about the story, and about Steven Seagal on his podcast.
It just comes down to who do you trust. Gene LeBell, who has no reason to lie, or Steven Seagal, the guy who pretends to be a cop and claims to have taught Anderson Silva the front kick.
1. Liam Neeson
The lovable, Irish father figure Liam Neeson has had a tough life. His wife passed away in 2009 after a freak skiing accident, but he didn’t let that slow down his career. In fact, he used the passing of his wife as motivation for the speech featured in The Grey. That said, Liam Neeson admits that he has a weakness, and says that everyone has one, some people just refuse to embrace it.
Liam Neeson’s weakness is that he is terrified of heights. We’re not talking like, he gets vertigo when looking over the edge of a tall building. We’re talking like, it’s so bad that he struggles with climbing on top of a chair to change a light bulb. He literally cannot push himself to get two feet off the ground, but he’ll travel to Europe to hunt down a group of kidnappers with nothing to go on but a brief phone conversation.