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Rob Lowe and Tom Cruise slept in a stranger's basement while making 'The Outsiders'

Before they were huge stars, they were confined to living on cots while making the coming-of-age film.
/ Source: TODAY

Imagine having two of Hollywood’s hottest up-and-coming stars living under your roof. For a select few people in Oklahoma, it happened.

While appearing on Monday’s episode of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” to promote his new podcast, “Literally! With Rob Lowe,” the actor recalled how he and Tom Cruise spent a night in a stranger’s house while they shot the 1983 film “The Outsiders.”

“What happened was, when we were doing ‘The Outsiders,’ we’re 18 and 19 years old. It’s Francis Ford Coppola, the director, who directed ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Apocalypse Now' ... and in his effort to make us more authentic as greasers, as sort of tough Tulsa, sort of wrong side of the tracks guys, (he) found a bunch of different actual greasers who were now grown-up adults and made us go spend the night and live with them,” Lowe said.

“They came to us at rehearsal and like, ‘OK, so, we’re gonna divide you up. Rob, Tom, you guys are gonna go stay with Bill and Sandy whoever.’ And we just went to their little house and had dinner.”

Lowe, 56, said he and Cruise, 58, were at a loss while trying to process the fact they were getting some shut-eye under a total stranger’s roof, while he was almost certain Coppola didn’t have to deal with such unusual conditions.

THE OUTSIDERS, from left: Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon (rear), Ralph Macchio,
Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon (rear), Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze in "The Outsiders."(C)Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Tom and I ended up in the basement in two cots and we’re like, ‘We don’t know these people,’” he said.

“I mean, who vetted them? Really? Do you think Francis Ford Coppola spent a lot of time vetting these people? I can tell you, he didn’t. He was with an espresso and watching some fancy Fellini movie and went, ‘Yeah, yeah that sounds great’ and went back to his espresso.”

It’s not the only “Outsiders” story Lowe has about rooming with Cruise, either. In an April interview with the “Armchair Expert” podcast, he recalled the time Cruise went “ballistic” when he discovered he and Lowe would have to share a hotel room after they flew to New York City to audition for the film.

On the set of The Outsiders
Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Thomas C. Howell, Patrick Swayze, and Tom Cruise on the set of "The Outsiders."Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images

"To me, what’s great about the story is, there’s certain people who have always been who they are, and that element of them has powered them to where they are today and the rest is history," he said. “And the notion that an 18-year-old actor with a walk-on part in ‘Endless Love’ and, like, a seventh lead in ‘Taps’ could have that kind of like wherewithal."

"I remember going, 'Wow, this guy is the real deal,'" Lowe added. "I mean it made me laugh, it was gnarly. But in the end of it, you can't argue with the results. He’s had his eye on the ball since day one."