I’ve often wondered just what directors saw in Shia LaBeouf, who a few years back was seemingly sought for any major role looking for a young male actor, including the hugely anticipated, but ultimately disappointing sequels Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (and frankly LaBeouf’s characters were often the worst parts of those movies). It seems like LaBeouf too was wondering what he was doing starring in such movies, as since then he has turned his attention to smaller budget projects, including the Prohibition crime drama Lawless. LaBeouf spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his career choices, and is remarkably candid about his life in film.
LaBeouf starred in the three Transformers movies, but he will not be in the planned fourth film in the franchise. That doesn’t seem to bother him much, as he says, “There’s no room for being a visionary in the studio system. It literally cannot exist. You give Terrence Malick a movie like Transformers, and he’s fucked. There’s no way for him to exist in that world.”
In fact , LaBeouf has lots of praise for independent studios like Voltage Pictures, which financed two of his upcoming films The Company You Keep and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman. He explains, “These dudes are a miracle. They give you the money, and they trust you — [unlike the studios, which]give you the money, then get on a plane and come to the set and stick a finger up your ass and chase you around for five months.”
Despite his obvious disdain for big budget filmmaking, LaBeouf is somewhat apologetic for his negative comments last year about his part in the fourth Indiana Jones film (he said he “dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished,” which Harrison Ford later said he was a “fucking idiot” for saying). While he says he “deeply regrets” his comments, he reveals that director Steven Spielberg also spoke to him about the comments. He reveals, “He told me there’s a time to be a human being and have an opinion, and there’s a time to sell cars. It brought me freedom, but it also killed my spirits because this was a dude I looked up to like a sensei.” Hmm… sounds like now he’s taking shots at Spielberg for “selling cars,” right? Some apology…
Either way, LaBeouf seems happier to work with directors like Lars Von Trier, who directed LaBeouf in Nymphomaniac. On the controversial dutch director, LaBeouf says he wanted to work with him, “Because he’s dangerous. He scares me. And I’m only going to work now when I’m terrified.”