Actor Shia LaBeouf certainly knows how to make some noise! His body of work coupled with his penchant for inviting trouble has kept his career quite eventful. While his recent release Tax Collector failed to impress, some fans have reason to believe that he would be Marvel Studios first X-Men recruit as either Iceman or Moon Knight. While it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out, let’s take a look at Shia LaBeouf’s honey boy affair with controversy.
Even before LaBeouf turned 18, he already had a Daytime Emmy Award and a Young Artist Award nomination to his name. Today, the actor is not even 35 but has spent 22 years in front of the camera. While films like Disturbia, Surf’s Up, and Transformers helped him develop a commercial fan following; Nymphomaniac and American Honey ensured he was also a critics favourite. Be it a child actor, Indie film actor, commercial film actor, or performance artist – he has seen it all.
Watch: The Tax Collector Trailer
The actor is in the news again with his current release – The Tax Collector, a story revolving around two gangland tax collectors for a Los Angeles crime syndicate. The film was keenly anticipated but failed to cut any ice with audience. The New York Times called the film ‘madly illogical’, while the Los Angeles Times described it as ‘one of the most atrocious viewing experiences of the year’. So does that mean his past controversies are now interfering with the his histrionic acting characteristics?
Shia LaBeouf – Controversy’s Favourite Child
One word that truly defines Shia LaBeouf’s two-decade-long career is ‘controversy’. The list is long, to say the least. His brush with controversy began in 2011 on the sets of Lawless, a film that also featured Tom Hardy. The actor resorted to Moonshine (a high-proof distilled spirit) to get into character. The outcome was constant quarrelling with his co-stars Tom and Mia Wasikowska. A physical altercation between Shia and Tom was also reported during the filming of Lawless. It all took a toll on the film. Despite the presence of heavyweights, the film sank without a trace upon release.
Watch: Top 10 Ridiculous Shia LaBeouf Moments
The next controversy followed in 2013, when the actor posted a short film titled Howard Cantour.com online. The short film dealt with a film critic’s life and struggles reviewing a film produced by his hero. Contrary to his expectation, most viewers noticed similarities between his short film and the great comic book writer Dan Clowes’ short story Justin M Damiano. The verdict was that Shia’s short film was a straight lift from Clowe’s work. Shia later apologized but that was not the end. His apology, too, was copied from a Yahoo! Answers post.
Shia again made news when Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier signed him for his erotically charged Nymphomaniac. When the film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014, he appeared on the red carpet wearing a brown paper bag which had ‘I am not famous anymore’ written on it. He tried justifying his act in the name of art, which served as inspiration for innumerable Halloween costumes. He was arrested that same year. Shia was thrown out of a Broadway play (Cabaret) in an inebriated state. The actor was charged for lighting a cigarette in the theatre and grabbing actor Alex Cummings. He was arrested during the intermission.
Of Art And Performances
In 2016, in an act of performance art, he confined himself in an elevator for 24 hours. The piece, titled Elevate was live-streamed. One of his fans requested to be punched in the face as part of the performance. Shia readily agreed to the request. In the beginning of 2016, as part of another performance art piece, this time at the Museum of the Moving Image, his project featured people speaking against the presidency of Donald Trump. He was once again approached by a man, on this occasion a white supremacist, who calmly said, ‘Hitler did nothing wrong’. The response was greeted with a firm punch to the face.
In 2017, Shia got embroiled in a fight at a bowling alley. He lost his temper when the bartender refused to serve him French fries. In a fit of rage, a drunken Shia called the bartender a racist. That same year, he was arrested for racial outburst. The incident happened during the shooting of The Peanut Butter Falcon when police did not allow him to have his puff. The outcome resulted in Shia giving the choicest words to police personnel which was also punctuated with racist ranting.
Watch: Shia LaBeouf On His Arrest
The actor has come a long way after spending his formative years in acute penury in Los Angeles. Judging by his behaviour, reflected in an Esquire magazine interview, it seems the actor has mended his ways. His Honey Boy, released last year, was touted as a sort of autobiographical film. Apart from actor, the film also credited him as the writer of the film which reflected a ‘changed’ Shia. It is believed that his upcoming films – Don’t Worry Darling and Pieces of a Woman will bring forth facets of Shia hitherto unseen on screen. Shia LaBeouf has given us reasons to believe that he is a changed person. How long will he be able to sustain this ‘sober phase’ is anybody’s guess.