In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times’ Rebecca Keegan, Transformers star Shia LaBeouf talked about working with directors like Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg and growing up in the spotlight.
Now that LaBeouf has worked on three installments of the Transformers series with Bay, the 25-year-old said that the director is “sort of my big brother… We’re both very game, very passionate people. Sometimes it’s not actor-director. Sometimes it’s two dudes yelling over explosions. Sometimes it doesn’t sound like the friendliest conversation. But we love each other.”
As for Spielberg, “Steven introduced me to the world in a way. The man has been incredible to me.” Spielberg is the executive producer of the Transformers franchise, which began with an eponymous film in 2007 and has continued with 2009’s Revenge of the Fallen and this month’s Dark of the Moon.
Still, LaBeouf freely acknowledges that he’s grown since first signing on for Transformers and wants to spread his wings in the movie world. “The work that I’ve done with (Spielberg), the character variation is not heavy. It’s sort of all in the same vein… I’ve gotta anchor these movies that are in these outrageous worlds, and I have to be as tangible as possible… I have no problem with that, but I don’t want to be there forever.”
One of his more mature projects, the upcoming Wettest County in the World, continues LaBeouf’s evolution as an actor. The movie stars LaBeouf as one of three brothers who run a bootlegging operation in Depression-era Virginia. “When you’re a racehorse and you’ve got 20 trainers, all the trainers want the racehorse to run a certain way,” he explained. “What does the racehorse want to do? Wettest is the first time they’ve ever asked the racehorse. I’ve been running for a team of people for a long time and I don’t take any of it back… I’ve learned a great deal about a certain type of filmmaking. But I have ambitions toward another type of filmmaking that I haven’t been allowed to engage in yet.”
“I’m trying to find a way to eat up time without being destructive, ’cause that’s my go-to, it seems. I have a hard time with free time,” LaBeouf said about finding his next project, referencing several recent run-ins with the law. “There’s this coming-of-age thing that’s happening within me. I’ve come from family-fare, pop-culture, Steven Spielberg-safe, made-for-a-generalized-populace (projects), and I have these yearnings to do different things. Which way is this boy gonna go? I have no idea… I’m just reading and being patient now for the first time.”