George Clooney takes shots at Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe

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Image Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

George Clooney is confident. Confident enough to live in Clark Gable’s old house and look like he truly belongs there. Confident enough to open an interview with a colorful anecdote he’s told before — to the very same magazine that’s currently featuring him on its cover. (To be fair, it’s a great anecdote; Clooney says he won a new dog’s heart by rubbing himself with turkey. In 2011, it was a turkey meatball; two years later, he’s calling it turkey bacon.)

And he’s also confident enough to call B.S. on Leonardo DiCaprio, based largely on the other star’s basketball prowess — or lack thereof. “The thing about playing [basketball against] Leo is you have all these guys talking sh–,” Clooney says in the latest edition of Esquire. Clooney, by contrast, knows “that you don’t talk sh– unless you can play.” And in the end, he continues, Leo and his trash-talking teammates were no match for Clooney and his quieter pals: “’We’re all like 50 years old, and we beat them three straight: 11–0, 11–0, 11–0.”

It’s a cute, pretty harmless story until Clooney gets to the kicker — “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.”

Most of the Clooney story revolves around this same theme: Some famous people manage to be celebrities without also being big jerkwads. Others… don’t. Clooney “is the president of a club of famous people he doesn’t consider a–holes, and he convenes it every time he makes a movie,” the article explains. “He has made movies with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, and Cate Blanchett. He has never been in a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio or Russell Crowe.”

That’s right — Clooney isn’t very fond of the 30 Odd Foot of Grunts frontman either. Why? Well, several years ago, he says, Crowe “picked a fight with me. He started it for no reason at all. He put out this thing saying, ‘George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro are sellouts.'” (The actual quote, from GQ‘s March 2005 issue: “I don’t use my ‘celebrity’ to make a living. I don’t do ads for suits in Spain like George Clooney, or cigarettes in Japan like Harrison Ford … To me it’s kind of sacrilegious — it’s a complete contradiction of the f—ing social contract you have with your audience. I mean, Robert De Niro’s advertising American Express.”)

So Clooney fired back, joking that he, Ford, and De Niro were going to start a band. “And that’s when [Crowe] really went off on me,” he recalls. “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— is wrong with you?'”

Eventually, Clooney adds, he and Crowe sort of made amends. “He sends me a disc of his music and a thing of his poetry,” Clooney says. “I think he said, ‘I was all misquoted,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. Whatever.'”

Of course, the Leo and Russell disses are only a small portion of Esquire‘s mammoth Clooney story. Click over to their site to read more about Clooney’s long dark evening of the soul with a World War Z-exhausted Brad Pitt, the best prank he ever played on Don Cheadle — it involves a set of “Brad Pitt” stationery and a fake movie about Miles Davis — and why he gave up on his electric car. (Hint: “I said to them, ‘Look, guys, why am I always stuck on the side of the f—ing road? Make it work, one way or another.'”)

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