Shia LaBeouf has been a pretty big part of my life. Since I was a child, LaBeouf has been a constant presence on the screen from the moment I took an interest in watching movies.
He was there as the ridiculously-named Stanley Yelnats in the cinematic adaption of Louis Sachar’s Holes, and he rose to international prominence off the back of Michael Bay’s action-filled Transformers series.
Since then, he has taken a more serious approach to his craft and appeared nude in a Sigur Rós video, held his own against Robert Redford in The Company You Keep, played an acid-dropping, oddly-endearing American in Charlie Countryman, and again appeared nude in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac.
Due to American obsession with celebrities, LaBeouf has become more famous for his off-set antics than his emotionally-charged performances. The 28-year-old has a laundry list of offences, most of which are for petty crimes like bar scuffles, but some are more serious like the D.U.I. accident that he got into with Isabel Lucas in his car that led to three surgeries on his hand. LaBeouf also he got into a very public spat with Alec Baldwin in rehearsals for a play (which he’s coming clean about in November’s issue of Interview) and got ejected from a performance of Cabaret which he drunkenly crashed.
In every respect, LaBeouf has been Hollywood’s quintessential bad boy and has suffered media crucifixion, but his performances have always held their weight. He most recently attracted attention for his performance art that questioned his own fame through wearing a paper bag that said “I am not famous anymore” at a premiere.
LaBeouf appeared on Ellen last week to apologize for and explain away his erratic behaviour. Clad in a sweatshirt and sporting a heavy beard, LaBeouf was likeable as he eloquently described the existential crisis he went through and what he learned about himself.
My bone to pick with all this is that Shia shouldn’t have to apologize for being a boss-ass motherfucker. Let the squares freak out and do you, bruh.
Through his performance art, LaBeouf has focussed attention on what continued invasion of privacy can do to a famous figure and has refused to conform to cookie-cutter ideals of what he should be.
All these things should be celebrated along with his undeniable acting talent, not frowned upon. If actors, normally the oddballs of society, aren’t allowed to alienate others through their lives and work, then what is the point?