Labeouf is not a method actor

By Sarah Contreras

I would like to punch Shia LaBeouf in the face.

Why do I believe that LaBeouf’s jaw deserves to meet the might of my tiny fist? Because of his big mouth. LaBeouf insists on running his mouth to any entertainment outlet that will listen, spewing groan-inducing ridiculousness in order to seem “edgy” and “not lame.”

He’s failing miserably.

From his interview with Playboy in 2009, in which he word-vomited “I’m not extremely well-endowed” and spoke about the sexiness of his mother, to his continued insistence that he is a “serious actor,” LaBeouf seems less like an intelligent human being and more like a fame-drunk child whose only friend is shock value.

In August, LaBeouf boasted that, in an effort to be more like the great method actors of our time, he actually dropped acid for an upcoming role. There is indeed a long tradition of actors attempting to get into the minds of their characters, and method acting has given over some truly groundbreaking performances (Heath Ledger and The Joker immediately come to mind). However, Ledger, Robert De Niro and Daniel Day-Lewis did not, and do not, run around expecting pats on the back for going to extremes—the praise they get is for the performance itself.

More alarming than the acid incident is LaBeouf’s drunken behavior on the set of the new Prohibiton-era movie Lawless. A self-admitted problem drinker who was involved in a drunk driving incident in 2008, LaBeouf hit the bottle hard so his performance would seem authentic. He told the New York Post,

“I did it for the movie. I didn’t drink off set for no reason. I did it because, when I showed up on set the next day, my [bleep]ing eyes looked like this and my face… had that drunk bloat that I needed, that I couldn’t have if that wasn’t going on.”

Unfortunately, his behavior scared his co-star, Mia Wasikowska, so badly that she asked to be pulled from the film.

Like it or not, celebrity is a powerful weapon to wield. The individuals we laud are armed with the ability to influence those who look up to them. What makes LaBeouf’s descent into awful behavior even worse is the fact that a lot of my generation has a certain soft spot for the guy. Those who do not outright dislike him may be inclined to see his movies and read his interviews because he was once Louis Stevens from Even Stevens. They correlate LaBeouf with their childhoods, and therefore are able to connect with him. While he could be lending his influence to political or charitable causes, LaBeouf is instead damaging our society by glamorizing, if not encouraging, blatant douche-baggery.

Please stop, Shia LaBeouf. Or at least hire a publicist to tell you when to reign it in.