5 Action Stars Who Had Real Life Moments Of Badassery

5 Action Stars Who Had Real Life Moments Of Badassery

Let's face it, you don't really expect that any of your favorite action heroes are going to live up to their on-screen reputations in reality. They might drop-kick cruise missiles onscreen, but you at least half-suspect that any one of these millionaire actors would thoroughly ruin their designer jeans if they were held up at a 7-11. That may be true most of the time, but there are a few cases in which actors have apparently forgotten that there weren't any movie cameras rolling. Like when ...

Ryan Gosling Apparently Goes Around New York Saving Random Pedestrians

It's almost impossible to believe that Ryan Gosling isn't the sweetest action star in the world. If anyone ever leaked a video of him so much as making fun of a woman's haircut in line at a Starbucks, it's likely that the entire internet would have an aneurysm. Don't worry, we're not going to dispel that idea today. In fact, when Gosling gets the chance to play the hero in reality, he does it exactly as charmingly as you expect he would. Break the law in front of Gosling, and the whole imbroglio will end with a hug and an affirmation that you're beautiful just the way you are.

In 2011, two men were fighting in the middle of a busy New York crosswalk, because New York, when Gosling got between them and firmly put a stop to it. A video of the incident soon went viral. He's the one in the striped shirt who seems to simply appear out of the void like someone said his name three times.

5 Action Stars Who Had Real Life Moments Of Badassery
via DapperLife/YouTube

5 Action Stars Who Had Real Life Moments Of Badassery
via DapperLife/YouTube

5 Action Stars Who Had Real Life Moments Of Badassery
via DapperLife/YouTube

But Gosling didn't merely stop the fight and skateboard away into the sunset. He took the opponents aside and asked them what was wrong. It turned out that one of the men was a street artist, and the other one came by every day to look at his paintings, until he finally tried to steal one. Gosling told MTV that he felt really bad for the thief, rationalizing that the guy must have been a huge fan of the artwork and unable to afford it, and it must have really sucked that his favorite artist and a random Hollywood A-lister wound up beating him up in the street. According to witnesses, the conflict was defused when Gosling handed the artist a crisp $20 note, effectively buying the painting for the thief. Some say that guy still wakes up every morning with his bed sheets mysteriously smelling like rose petals and French cologne.

But that wasn't the only time Gosling demonstrated real-life heroism. The very next year, British journalist Laurie Penny was in New York when she stepped into the street in the path of an oncoming taxi. Once again, Ryan Gosling leaped out of whatever pocket dimension he apparently lives in and pulled her out of the way.

5 Action Stars Who Had Real Life Moments Of Badassery
Laurie Penny/Twitter

Laurie Penny @PennyRed I was crossing 6th avenue in a new pink wig. Not looking the right way because I am from London. Ryan Gosling grabbed me away f
Laurie Penny/Twitter
He was able to save her life, but not her fashion sense.

According to Penny, he disappointingly didn't warn her by shouting "Hey, girl!" Still, it's good to know that the Ninja Turtles might not be real, but someone out there has New Yorkers' backs.

Tom Hardy Chased Down A Moped Thief In London

In early 2017, a couple of guys in London thought it would be fun to steal a moped and take it for a high-speed spin. The criminal enterprise came to a literal halt, however, when the thieves ran a red light and crashed into a Mercedes. They then took off on foot, probably figuring that they'd gotten off scot-free ... until the driver looked back and realized he was being chased by freaking Mad Max. And not the old racist one, either.

According to eyewitnesses, Tom Hardy "looked furious" and "in superhero mode" as he chased the thief through the streets, "vaulting over walls and running through gardens." Eventually, Hardy caught up with the bad guy, tackled him, and performed a citizen's arrest, exclaiming, "I caught the !"

News of the incident went viral after the story was broken by The Sun, but enthusiasm was soon dampened by the fact that British police took all credit for the arrest. Since Hardy's people declined to comment, people started to assume it was all a lie, because, well, The Sun. If you're looking for legitimate current events, you're better off reading The Weekly World News or the latest issue of Uncanny X-Men.

But then, shortly afterward, the police backtracked and admitted that "a member of the public" had detained the perp. That's not a confirmation that it was Tom Hardy, but witnesses (and a cop who spoke to the BBC) swear that it was him.

A Richmond Police spokesman said: We can confirm that there were two people on a stolen moped that went through a red light and crashed into another
We choose to believe.

Sean Bean Got Stabbed Outside A Bar, Patched Himself Up, Went Right Back To Drinking

Sean Bean is unique among action stars for the fact that the action rarely works out well for him in the end. By which we mean that he dies -- a lot.

It's a meme at this point. But it turns out that when Bean answers the call to action off-camera, he tends to fare better than his many ill-fated characters and handles it like a boss.

In 2012, Bean was smoking outside of a London bar when some guy walked past and made impolite comments about the actor's smoking companion, fashion model April Summers. Bean caught up with the rude passerby and let him know that what he did wasn't cool. Reportedly, the guy went away, but returned once he'd thought of a comeback ... which was, unfortunately, "punching actor Sean Bean and stabbing him in the arm with broken glass."

So did Bean lie down and die in a pool of his own blood, like you'd expect from one of his movie characters? Nah. He returned to the bar and requested two equally important items: 1) a first aid kit, which he used to patch himself up, and 2) another drink.

According to staff members, this kind of thing isn't too unusual for Bean, who is a regular at the bar. Staff offered to call him an ambulance, but, you know, that would have only ruined the rest of his night. If you think about it, that would be like letting the bad guy win.

Paulie Walnuts Was Shot By Mobsters, Then Proceeded To Chase Them Off

Of all the actors in The Sopranos, Tony "Paulie Walnuts" Sirico probably had the most impressive resume. He played mobsters in Goodfellas, The Godfather Part II, and real life, which is kind of ironic, when you consider he's probably the most pathetic and ineffectual character on the show. His name is "Walnuts," after all, which is about as threatening a Mafia nickname as "Sparkles" or "Butterchurn."

Sirico racked up an impressive 28 arrests before he got into acting, mostly for sticking up nightclubs (although he insists that he "never hurt nobody, just took the receipts and left"). Unlike his character, whose wardrobe seemed to be made up of old tank tops and tracksuits, Sirico liked to dress in stylish white suits. Unfortunately, that also made him a pretty easy target.

5 Action Stars Who Had Real Life Moments Of Badassery
Tony Sirico
He looked more like a TV mobster in real life than on TV.

One evening in the '70s, Sirico was getting acquainted with a lady friend outside of a local church when some rivals spotted him and shouted his name. Sirico says he was "in no position to do anything, because I have my tongue deep down in her soul," so the other guys seized their chance and shot him in the leg. Sirico saw red ... on his precious suit. Angrier about the ruined pants than the ruined limb, Sirico started running toward their car. The shooters sped away, but as soon as Sirico turned around, they shot him again in the back. But it's OK -- according to Sirico, in the neighborhood he grew up in, "you either had to have a tattoo or a bullet hole. I had both."

During his final prison stint at Sing Sing for one of his numerous armed robberies, Sirico watched a play performed by ex-cons and thought "I can do that." After he was released, a friend (Richard Castellano, who played Pete Clemenza in The Godfather and was himself a Gambino family associate) helped Sirico get his first acting gigs. And he hasn't stuck up a nightclub since -- at least, not any that he's owning up to.

TV's Punisher Impersonated A Cop To Catch A Purse Thief

Jon Bernthal is a TV actor best known as the Punisher in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shane Walsh in The Walking Dead, and playing shady, violent law enforcers in general.

5 Action Stars Who Had Real Life Moments Of Badassery
Jon Bernthal
Badass roles which he somehow got despite at one point using this for his headshot.

But in 2011, at least according to Bernthal himself, real life merged with Hollywood when he had an opportunity to punish an actual supervillain. OK, so "The Nefarious Purse-Snatcher Man" isn't exactly Marvel material, but still, it's a cool story.

In a 2012 interview on The Late Show, Bernthal recounted how he was driving home from the Walking Dead set in LA when he heard a woman on the side of the road scream, "Stop him, he stole my purse!" Bernthal, who is often cast as a police officer (due to his "broken-in mangled face"), claims that he forgot this was real life when he heard this incredibly cliche line and started pursuing the perp, especially driven by the fact that he saw the guy knock over a man dressed as Santa, because reality itself goes straight to video sometimes.

According to Bernthal, he chased the guy down like one of his TV roles until he was able to pull his car in front of the thief, flipping him over the hood. He got out and shouted, "Police! Freeze!" -- but it was only at that moment that he suddenly remembered this was reality, he was unarmed, criminals are dangerous, and, unlike the Punisher, he was mortally susceptible to stabbing and/or gunshot. But shit, he was in the situation now, so he'd better improvise.

The criminal, perhaps remembering Bernthal's face from Night At The Museum 2, demanded that the actor prove he was a cop. Bernthal figured "Well, I play one on TV" probably wouldn't fly, so instead he opened his car door and dragged out his dog, telling the thief that his "police dog" would attack if the guy tried to get away. Of course, we're talking about an ordinary dog here -- according to Bernthal, it could at worst "lick the guy to death."

This ridiculous ruse worked just long enough for the legitimate police to arrive, at which point Bernthal started to think that he'd probably committed more crimes here than the purse thief did (cops don't look too kindly on the whole "impersonating an officer" thing). So he tried to slink away, but the victim suddenly appeared and fingered him as the real hero, due in no small part to Bernthal's apparent inability to distinguish between movies and reality.

S. Peter Davis is the creator of the Three Minute Philosophy YouTube series, and is the author of the book Occam's Nightmare.

Turn into a secret bystander savior yourself with *drumroll* a can of mace!

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