JUST DO IT
I’m not ashamed to say that Shia LaBeouf is one of my favourite actors. For me, he has everything that an actor needs to be… sorry what was that? Did he wear a bag on his head? He occasionally flies off the handle and does strange things? Well, more than occasionally. Every time he has a film come out in fact. That might be true, but that just so happens to lead into my first point…
Shia Labeouf is a bit of a weirdo. More than a bit, in fact, he’s actually rather strange, and isn’t that wonderful? Leaving aside his personal life, for now, let’s look at some of the professional choices he’s made in the last few years. My personal favourite performance of his was in Fury. This 2014 World War II film had an incredible ensemble cast, including Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal, and the actor everybody I knew came out of the film talking about? Actual cannibal Shia LaBeouf. To make this even more impressive, he had one of the smallest roles.
Another instance that this was the case was in 2012’s Lawless. Once again this had an incredible ensemble cast, including Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Dane DeHaan, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska and Jason Clarke. All of these actors are more than capable of leading a film, and which actor impressed the most? #IAMSORRY Shia LaBeouf.
YESTERDAY YOU SAID TOMORROW SO JUST DO IT
Let’s talk about the most family friendly entry on his filmography, Nymphomaniac, a film so full of sex it had to be split in two. Allow me to paint you a picture… You’ve just finished leading a billion dollar trilogy. You’ve had a number of solid hits, and no doubt have a few offers on the table to make more of these solid hits, even if they don’t excite you too much. You’re building a fan base. People still like you from your days as a child star, and with every film, you’re getting more fans. So what project do you do next? Get into another franchise? Perhaps make something low-key and worthy, get some awards buzz? Or how about be in a film so stuffed with todger and titties that it makes Fifty Shades of Grey look like Sesame Street.
Next up is the most ingenious, alternative choice any actor has ever made. Being in a music video featuring interpretive dance, but one that’s actually good. I am of course talking about the video for Sia’s Elastic Heart. This video got a lot of attention because it had Shia LaBeouf, a man close to thirty, dancing with a twelve-year-old girl. Some people saw this and immediately shouted ‘paedo!’, partly because I’m sure they didn’t watch the video fully, and partly because some saw Shia and assumed something must be up.
The truth is, it’s a wonderful, touching portrayal of the relationship between a troubled father, and a daughter who wants nothing more than to help him. Nobody could have done this like Shia LaBeouf, and more importantly, nobody WOULD have. You will never catch Leonardo DiCaprio boogying with a child in a Rihanna video, or Tom Hanks making fun of his entire filmography with Carly Rae Jepson. Oh wait… The point I’m trying to make is that here is an actor that makes different and interesting choices, and somebody who’s going down a career path unlike anyone else.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
Ok so let’s get on to the elephant in the room. I’ll try to cover it fairly whilst also rush through it in a way I hope people don’t notice… Oh did I type that out loud? So, the plagiarism thing. I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a black mark against him, and there’s no real justification for it. His ‘writing and directing’ a project which turned out to be more or less an exact copy of somebody else’s work is terrible, and should not be overlooked. I’m not even going to try to defend it, but there is something I will defend.
Shia LaBeouf has been in the public eye since he was thirteen years old, which is more than half his life. He’s spent all of his formative years living with fame, as a celebrity to some extent. We know full well that this can damage a person beyond help, and it has fairly obviously had an effect here. I really don’t want to sound insensitive, but if instead of acting out and behaving in a bizarre manner he’d died young, people would be describing it as a terrible tragedy. Isn’t it better that we have an odd man who occasionally makes headlines for being weird, and frequently gives brilliant creative performances? I’ll take these small lows if it means we get the excellent highs of this unique and intriguing actor.
So what do you think about Shia Labeouf? Do you like him as much as me? Probably not, but I would be interested in knowing if there are any fans of his out there. Also, if you liked this profile, please feel free to check out some of the other parts of this series, like this one here, or maybe you’d prefer this one. In the wise words of Shia Labeouf…
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? DO IT
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