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Shia LaBeouf Done With Studio Films? Actor Regrets Comments About 'Indy 4,' Says He's 'Terrified' About Lars Von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'

by Oliver Lyttelton
August 16, 2012 12:00 PM
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While it's been a while since we really warmed to him on screen, kudos are certainly due to Shia LaBeouf for giving his career a new lease of life of late. The 26-year-old actor started off in the Disney Channel world before graduating to blockbuster sidekick in films like "Constantine" and "I Robot," and has spent much of the last half-decade going from blockbuster to blockbuster, most notably in the 'Transformers' series and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." But John Hillcoat's "Lawless," which opens in a few weeks, seems to signal a serious sea change in the actor's career.

Because from now on, he doesn't have a studio picture on his slate; instead, he's co-starring in Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep," he'll reunite with Hillcoat on the L.A. cop thriller "Triple Nine," and most recently, signed on to appear in Lars von Trier's sexually explicit "The Nymphomaniac." And as "Lawless" nears release, LaBeouf has revealed that this is a very deliberate move, with the actor suggesting to the The Hollywood Reporter that he is finished with big-budget studio films. "I'm done. 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."

As such the actor is putting more faith in companies like independent financiers Voltage Pictures, who backed both "The Company You Keep" and the just-wrapped crime thriller "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman," which co-stars Mads Mikkelsen and Evan Rachel Wood. "These dudes are a miracle," LaBeouf said about Voltage. "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."

But seemingly abandoning studio fare (although the actor doesn't seem to rule out returning to the fold in the future) has had a price: LaBeouf's diss of his Indiana Jones movie, saying of director Steven Spielberg, "when you drop the ball, you drop the ball" seemingly cost him his relationship with the director, who'd served as something of a mentor to the young star. "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." As such, LaBeouf says he now "deeply regrets" what he said.

Working with Spielberg will certainly be worlds away from working with Lars von Trier, as "The Nymphomaniac" gears up to shoot next month with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård and Willem Dafoe also in the cast. And LaBoeuf tells MTV that he certainly has reservations. "He's very dangerous. He's the most dangerous dude I've ever showed up for," the actor said, confirming his role in von Trier's soft-core-like porn-esque drama. "I'm terrified."

It will perhaps be just as terrifying for the audience as for the actors. It appears there's going to be real sex in the film and actors like LaBeouf are expected to go naked and actually engage in sexual acts on screen. "It is what you think it is," LaBeouf said."There's a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says, we're doing [the sex] for real. And anything that is 'illegal' will be shot in blurred images, but other than that, everything is happening."

Is LaBeouf prepared to go there? "Whatever's asked of me," he said with his "Lawless" co-star Jessica Chastain looking on in horror. "It's going to be a wild movie." And he also tells THR that the fear is part of the appeal: "I'm only going to work now when I'm terrified." It's an admirable approach for an actor who could be cashing paycheck after paycheck in studio fare. We'll see how it turns out when "Lawless" hits theaters on August 29th, while "The Nymphomaniac" will follow in 2013.

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  • lynn | January 19, 2013 10:57 PMReply

    He's a dumb a__. I hope his career tanks. Google the dumbest quotes of Shia, you'll see...stupid

  • Donald | August 29, 2012 9:49 PMReply

    What is up with all these sexual voyeur movies? Actors truly are whores. I can not respect these people, who can? How can they ever have children and expect them to respect their parent? Just absurd. SADB

  • b | August 29, 2012 10:16 PM

    What are you on about, Donald? You sound ridiculous.

  • Kent | August 29, 2012 8:27 PMReply

    I hope he's done with films period. One of the most overhyped, untalented schumcks to come on the scene in a loooong time.
    The sooner he retires the better.

  • Jeff | January 10, 2014 11:07 PM

    I agree. This guy is overrated, and overhyped. Mostly by Mr. Speilberg. He got cast in a pos Tranformers kid vid and made a bundle on that franchise. He opens his mouth and truly stupid comments come out. I hope he retires. I bet he won't.

  • K | August 29, 2012 7:25 PMReply

    I'm excited for his future roles. This is the Shia I've been waiting for. Hope he does well. If not, well at least he would have done some interesting films in the meantime.

  • Daphne | August 23, 2012 3:54 PMReply

    Sigh...Let the guy do what he wants. We give too much power and pressure to these human beings. We fawn and criticize them for everything they do. and we think we know better. If he doesn't want to do studio films, good for him. And to be clear, there's also nothing wrong with wanting to do studio films. He's a young 20 something in Hollywood and he wants to be challenged. Like anyone in a creative discipline, what we want to create changes with our experiences. Every actor has different challenges, sets different goals for themselves, etc... Can't we just hope for the best for him. Just like you would want the best for you. Everyone is so quick to shit another person.

    Thank you indiewire for this article and good luck to Shia.

  • Rohan | August 23, 2012 12:04 PMReply

    In few years, Shia is going to be the actor that every director, actor and actresses will want to work with. I kinda know where he is going. I admire him even more now.

  • Daniel | August 18, 2012 1:51 PMReply

    I've never really thought too much of Shia as a talent, but I do respect his choice here. Best of luck to him.

  • Hashtag | August 18, 2012 1:51 AMReply

    I, for one, am glad he's gone. terrible actor.

  • thats what i used to think | September 4, 2012 11:41 AM

    until I saw "Lawless"

  • can i be a model | August 17, 2012 2:14 PMReply

    Hello Oliver,
    Your post consist so many informative things. Thanks for sharing!

  • Julian | August 17, 2012 8:07 AMReply

    "Terrence Malick's Transformers" ... now that's a movie I'd like to see.

  • Harry | August 17, 2012 1:52 AMReply

    A guide to recognizing your saints s. him playing himself. Film actors who really have long careers should be able to create and sustain a variety of characters. He has a tiny range. Hes had it too good and like it should gravity will bring him way back down. Theres talent out there. This isnt that. Believe me he lucked out. He won the lottery and didnt earn his keep. Its not karma but its certainly reality setting in

  • Glass | August 16, 2012 7:39 PMReply

    He set sail on the douche barge years ago. *fart sound - thumbs down*

  • joe | August 16, 2012 6:48 PMReply

    its a lot easier to go in this direction once hes made 100 millions dollars. wow, very controversial of him......

  • Cpt. Falcon | August 16, 2012 5:54 PMReply

    If you don't think Shia can act, go watch "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints." He was great in that, and that was before Transformers/Indy 4, if I'm not mistaken. He's got great potential, and he's always been great in my opinion.

  • Leonardo | August 16, 2012 5:44 PMReply

    damn Shia, stop being so stupid!

  • Anonymous | August 18, 2012 2:11 PM

    @Leonardo, Totally agree. Now Shia is joining the rest of the mindless, do anything for money, trash that loosely call themselves actors/entertainers. This in my view drops him to irrelevance. Such a pity!

  • Zinjo | August 16, 2012 4:15 PMReply

    I disagree Harry. It takes skill to pull off any measure of comedy and SL has done it. Taking the "Indy" road (no pun intended) is what Jolie and so many other great A list character actors have done. Those performers who will only acheive mediocre acting skills are the ones who stay in the studio system and get paid too much to act in forgettable films. It is a career that you can retire on, but it will be short and much like the films they'll appear in, "forgettable".
    LaBeouf is doing the thespian training he should at his age. He has the cash to work for scale and his name boosts small budgets so that challenging, memorable films will see the light of day.

    IMHO, it's a very smart move for a career actor...

  • HARRY | August 16, 2012 2:14 PMReply

    Theres only one problem - HE CANT ACT! hes not an actor. hes in the marketing machine. hes not a philip seymour hoffman whose talent will always keep him in demand. shia only has foreign value getting him work. hes in that dangerous position where once he loses his foreign value he will no longer help finance an indy and he will never get rave reviews from the critics so indys are a gamble for him. Eat it up while you can you talent free talking head

  • George | August 16, 2012 4:35 PM

    He has some range but along with most of this generation American Youth Actors he does not have the experience or have the presence on screen to take on meatier and complex roles. So that's why most casting Directors are hiring Foreign actors instead of taking time and patience to explore hundred and thousands of unknowns with Theater backgrounds.

  • RNL | August 16, 2012 1:55 PMReply

    Become a millionaire by making garbage, then discover your integrity and swear off making garbage, living like a hog in the fathouse for the rest of your days. It's not like he's making a sacrifice here, guys.

  • Tom | August 23, 2012 4:50 PM

    Exactly what I thought. It'll be interesting to see where his career goes. While this move may be genuine, I wouldnt be surprised if he went back to doing blockbusters in a few years just for the money. A Lot of actors and directors have admitted to doing shit films for money. But Spielberg is right, the time for admitting a film is bad isnt on its press junket.

  • Sam | August 16, 2012 10:59 PM

    so no one will recognize the work the dude will do vs what he'd be asked to do in studio films? grow a pair. this seems genuine. the guy's not slumming it.

  • Rebecca | August 16, 2012 1:14 PMReply

    I still like Shia, I hope he continues to do well in life.

  • DG | August 16, 2012 1:11 PMReply


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