George Clooney may be one of the most likeable actors in Hollywood, but ironically, he doesn't like everyone. In the December issue of Esquire, the 52-year-old Gravity star subtly disses Leonardo DiCaprio and sheds new insight into his feud with Russell Crowe, who bashed him in the press in 2005.
In the lengthy profile, Clooney recalls playing basketball with DiCaprio in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
"You know, I can play," the Monuments Men star says of his skills on the court. "I'm not great, by any means, but I played high school basketball, and I know I can play. I also know that you don't talk s--t unless you can play. And the thing about playing Leo is you have all these guys talking s--t. We get there, and there's this guy, Danny A I think his name is. Danny A is this club kid from New York. And he comes up to me and says, ‘We played once at Chelsea Piers. I kicked your ass.' I said, ‘I've only played at Chelsea Piers once in my life and ran the table. So if we played, you didn't kick anybody's ass.'"
He adds, "We're watching them warm up, and they're doing this weave around the court, and one of the guys I play with says, ‘You know we're going to kill these guys, right?' Because they can't play at all. We're all like 50 years old, and we beat them three straight: 11–0, 11–0, 11–0. And the discrepancy between their game and how they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what's what. I'm not sure if Leo has someone like that."
Clooney is far more blunt when it comes to Crowe. Given that the Australian actor publicly accused him of selling out in 2005, it's not too surprising. "I don't do ads for suits in Spain like George Clooney or cigarettes in Japan like [Harrison Ford]," Crowe told reporters eight years ago. "I mean, Robert De Niro advertising American Express. Gee whiz, it's not the first time he's disappointed me."
"He picked a fight with me. He started it for no reason at all, " Clooney recalls. "He put out this thing saying, ‘George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro are sellouts.' And I put out a statement saying, ‘He's probably right. And I'm glad he told us, 'cause Bob and Harrison and I were also thinking about starting a band, which would also fall under the heading of bad use of celebrity.' And that's when he really went off on me. ‘Who the f--k does this guy think he is? He's a Frank Sinatra wannabe.' He really went after me. And so I sent him a note going, ‘Dude, the only people who succeed when two famous people are fighting is People magazine. What the f--k is wrong with you?'"
According to Clooney, Crowe did offer an apology—though he's not sure of the star's sincerity. "He was gonna see me at the Golden Globes 'cause he was nominated for Cinderella Man. So he sends me a disc of his music and a thing of his poetry," he shares. "I think he said, 'I was all misquoted,' and I was like, 'Yeah, yeah. Whatever.' I did take it with me to the BAFTAs, but I didn't win. I might have used it if I had won. I was nominated for four!"
While he may take issue with Crowe, Clooney has nothing but kind words for Brad Pitt, his longtime BFF. "For a long time now, Brad has been the biggest movie star in the world," he tells Esquire. "He's bigger than me, bigger than DiCaprio. And I really admire how he deals with that. It's not easy for him. But he tries to be the most honest version of Brad Pitt that he can be. And he also remains unavailable."
"He's still a giant movie star because you can't get to him," he adds. "That doesn't mean that I don't think of him as incredibly talented and smart and all those things. But you also can't get to him."