Any Given Sunday is the 1999 film classic about professional American Football. Directed by Oliver Stone, the movie had an all-star cast of superstars and drew its inspiration from a 1984 novel titled On Any Given Sunday by Pat Toomay. The movie is famous for a lot of reasons and has a bit of a cult following, with many people enamored by the behind-the-scenes drama on the set. Two of the movie’s biggest stars apparently came to blows in recently spilled tea but actor Bill Bellamy.
Any Given Sunday starred Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Elizabeth Berkley, and real-life football players Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor. The film followed The Miami Sharks, who are struggling to get into the 2001 Affiliated Football Franchise of America’s playoffs. It currently has a 52% on Rotten Tomatoes with over 100 reviews. The audience has scored it at a 73% over the years. It made over $75 million at the box office when it was released on September 1st, 2000. In total, it grossed $100.2 million worldwide against its $55 million budget.
The movie was a crucial success for Oliver Stone, who had just bombed twice at the box office with U-Turn and Nixon. Stone is a massive name in Hollywood, having written 1983’s Scarface and directed Natural Pork Killers and The Doors. He won Best Director and Best Picture in 1986 for Platoon. Any Given Sunday helped put him right back where he belonged and was an incredible rebound for him.
Over the years, its legacy has only continued, being ranked number 24 on Rolling Stone’s greatest films of all time countdown. The movie is praised for its “mythic desperation.” RS said, “That collective sense of anxiety and hopelessness is just one of the reasons why Pacino’s climactic ‘Life’s just a game of inches’ speech to his troops has earned its place as one of the all-time greatest sports movie speeches.”
The NFL did not want to be associated with the film initially. They scared players away from auditioning as much as they could for unclear reasons. Also, Robert DeNiro originally was offered the role that Al Pacino eventually took. Pacino was thankful for the role because it allowed him to play something other than a cop or gangster. Another little know fact about the film is that a scripted fight between LL Cool J and Jamie Foxx turned into a real brawl.
The musicians/actors were mostly known for their more comic work up until this point, but the film marked a chance for them both to try their hands at something new. Unfortunately, they got too into character and fought for real. While LL and Jamie are cool now and have both told their sides of the story, Bill Bellamy shed a more animated light on what happened. While catching up with the guys at Drink Champs, Bill said that the guys really acted like their characters and would spar on and off set, a lot of which was kept in the film. Jamie teased LL about playing football, and LL would clap back, reminding Jamie that he was already on tour at 17. This escalated until Jamie busted LL’s lip.
Bill Bellamy says LL turned into the hulk after that and knocked Jamie clear out.