Bill Bellamy Gives New Details About The Fight Between LL Cool & Jamie Foxx
On December 22, 1999, Oliver Stone released Any Given Sunday, a film which took a hard-hitting look into the world of professional football. The project featured a who’s who cast, which included Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Bill Bellamy, Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Matthew Modine, Jim Brown and even Charlton Heston. While the film featured front row action on the field, it was a scene that occurred off the gridiron that stood among the most memorable.
During the movie there was tension building between Foxx’s character, quarterback Willie Beamen, and running back Julian “J-Man” Washington, played by LL Cool J. Their animosity culminated in a locker room fight scene that felt all too real. Years later, audiences would learn that a real-life altercation had in fact occurred on the set between Foxx and LL. Many renditions of what happened that day have now been told, including by LL Cool J and Foxx, themselves, but none have had the level of flair with which Bill Bellamy lays out the events.
While Bellamy also has told the story on a number of occasions, during a recent appearance on Drink Champs he provided new details about the clash between the two icons. “We are on the set of Any Given Sunday, 1998,” Bellamy begins. “The reality of the movie was the context was conflict of egos with these players.”
In setting the stage for the film, Bellamy explains that the testosterone-fueled atmosphere was also present when the cameras were not rolling. He says the tension between LL Cool J and Jamie Foxx initially began as playful verbal sparring, some of which was kept in the film. “This is in the movie where we’re talking trash again about who’s a real athlete…So, Jamie was like ‘Yo. So, L, you ever play football?’ [and LL] was like ‘Nah. I was on tour at 16,17. You was coming to see me.'” Bellamy emphasizes that after Foxx had been teasing LL over the previous couple of days, LL’s retort was a fitting counter-jab, but notes that it was still just fun and games between the two.
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Unwilling to let the point slide, Bellamy says Foxx continued the line of conversation. “Jamie was like ‘Yo. Was you a real athlete? I played football. I really played football.'” To which Bellamy says LL reiterated “‘Nah. I didn’t play football. I came in the game 14, 15. I was on tour. What was you doing in 8th grade??'” Bellamy says this exchange was the beginning of the friction between the two men.
Later in the day, Foxx and LL were in a scene together which called for them to be bickering with one another off the field. While filming, Bellamy says LL smacked Foxx’s helmet over his ear hole, making Foxx’s ear ring. “Jamie’s like ‘Damn. Man, you ain’t have to do that. Damn, bro, what’s up??'” Bellamy says LL dismissed Foxx’s reaction, saying that he was simply acting. When the actors reset for another take, Bellamy says LL smacked Foxx in the helmet again, to the same result.
Bellamy says, at this point, Foxx’s temper has flared. Although he says both Foxx and LL are claiming everything is under control, he senses otherwise and is trying to diffuse the situation. Bellamy continues, “Here’s the funny part about it. I push Jamie out the way. Jamie’s hot. LL is like ‘Yo, man. I’m cool. Why we trippin’? Y’all trippin’, B. I’m an actor. I’m doing my scene. I don’t know why y’all trippin’.’ I’m like ‘Yo, L. Chill.’ So, I talk to Jamie and I’m like ‘Yo, Jamie. What are you going to do ’cause we gotta shoot the scene?’ He was like ‘Yo, B. I’m alright man. Whatever. I’m good. I ain’t trippin.'”
Bellamy notes that at this point, LL Cool J is not wearing a helmet, but Foxx is. “So the third time we go to do the [scene], Jamie just turns. Boom! Punches him in the face; busts [LL’s] lip.” The way Bellamy describes what happens next is why he is the absolute best at telling this story. “You remember the Hulk? Like [roars like Lou Ferrigno’s version of the monstrous super hero]. LL Cool J turned into the Hulk!! He was so mad, and it just seemed like he was GROWING. I said ‘This ni**a’s on steroids!!’ So, he was like ‘DID. YOU. HIT. ME??? PLEASE TELL ME YOU DID NOT HIT ME!’ His voiced changed and everything. I was like, ‘I hope he didn’t hit THAT,'” said Bellamy. He continued, “They broke it up and [LL] said ‘On everything I love, ain’t nothing you gonna be able to do to stop what’s going to happen to you.'”
Bellamy says people on set then tried to calm LL and Foxx, and LL claimed that he had settled and the incident was behind them. As an actor, LL was convincing enough that the cast and crew were comfortable in proceeding with a fourth take of the scene. When the action re-started, Bellamy says “[LL] just snatches his helmet off. BOOM!! Knocked [Foxx] out. It looked like he got thrown by a Transformer.”
Here’s is where the versions of the story diverge. In an interview with NBA coach Byron Scott, Jamie Foxx says “First of all, let me set the record straight. Bill Bellamy is absolutely lying, because he’s been out there like ‘Jamie just fell down and LL just kicked him in the ass’…That’s a f*cking lie. I love Bill Bellamy. He has this thing where he does stories, which I enjoy, but it didn’t go like that at f*cking all.”
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LL Cool J’s recollection of the incident, however, sounds much more like Bellamy’s rendition of the story. During his 2017 appearance on Drink Champs, LL said of the matter, “The real story is that when we were doing the scene, Jamie, although he was experienced somewhat, he was still a little green. I wasn’t quite as green, but I was green too. When we were doing the scene, I was being aggressive with him, but this is character to character.” He continued, “So, he got upset. He said, ‘Yo, stop being so rough with me.’ That didn’t compute. So, we did another take, and I was rough with him again. And, then, I don’t know why, but he thought it was a good idea to punch me in my face. This wasn’t scripted. I’ma keep it 100 with you. You want me to keep it 100; I’ma keep it 100. He punched me in my face. So, I look at him after he punched me in my face. I said ‘Why’d you do that?’…He said ‘Look,’ and he was turned to the side [in a fighting stance]. He had his helmet on, and he was turned to the side. He said, ‘I told you before. Don’t put your hands on me. Period!’ So…Yo, when he said that, my left hand grabbed the face mask and, as I was pulling his helmet off, my right hand was punching his chin. This was like ‘POW!’ And, then, he was laying there, and I thought he was faking ’cause he was sleep. I thought he was faking,” LL says making it clear that Foxx was out cold.
After the altercation, things on the set were extremely tense, to say the least. Bellamy says that LL called his crew in NY and told them to come down to Miami where the movie was being filmed. The next day a crew of men arrived and there was concern among the crew that they would not be able to resume filming and the production would need to be halted. By all accounts, it was Jim Brown who was able to get the men to mend their differences, with an appeal for them to think of the repercussions their actions would have if they were to jeopardize an $80 million big budget film.
While Foxx did ultimately press charges against LL Cool J, in order for there to be a written record of the incident, the men have long since put aside their differences and become friends. Regardless, Bill Bellamy has joined the ranks of the late Charlie Murphy at his ability to present laughable and legendary versions of true Hollywood stories.
Notably, Jamie Foxx was not the only star to mix things up with LL. In 2018, Rakim spoke with DJ VLAD about a slap-boxing match with the Mama Said Knock You Out MC that almost went awry. “Me and L set up, we rocking,” Ra describes of the playful-but-aggressive bout. “L’s swinging hard as crap [reenacts punches thrown], [I am] ducking under [the punches] like, ‘Yo L, listen man, and your hands is closed? Like, what are you doing, man?’ He was like, ‘Nah man, let’s just do it.’ I was like, ‘Aight.’ So we rockin’…he swinging, I’m ducking up under him, smacking him in the ribs, [and] you know he’s tall. I’m trying to figure out how to get the hat off…[The] first thing I did was reach down and untie his [shoelaces]. He got mad as hell. ‘Oh, you doing that?’ Like, nah, G. So we set back up…he swings, I duck up under him smack his knee, [and] buckle him a little bit. So I’m like, ‘Aight, if I can get him in the back of the knee, buckle him again I can get the hat off.’ So L gets mad again. He coming all fast at me, throwing hard. So I get mad now. I reached up, popped a bing and grabbed the hat but it just went [moves own hat on head] like that on his head. So he was like, ‘Oh, you trying to take my hat off?’ [I respond], ‘Nah man, it’s 52, I was just going to take the hat and give it back to you.’”