The career trajectory of Shia LaBeouf has been an interesting one over the years, to say the least. Though his early days were filled with somewhat basic and more typical roles for a child actor, as time passed, LaBeouf found his way into productions with some of the biggest blockbuster directors in Hollywood: Michael Bay (Transformers 1-3), Oliver Stone (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) and most recently, David Ayer (Fury).
By the time LaBeouf had starred in 2007’s Disturbia, his stock as one of Hollywood’s fastest rising stars was solidified. But after a string of mainstream hits, LaBeouf began to make more headlines for his often-bizarre behavior than he did for his film roles. There were run-ins with the law, videos captured of drunken fights, public rants and a series of art installations in which the actor insisted he was no longer famous.
While it remains to be seen whether or not those erratic days are behind LaBeouf, the actor has stopped drinking and has taken on a recent series of roles that are far removed from the Hollywood blockbuster formula. Looking back on those franchise days during a recent interview with Variety, Shia LaBeouf had much to say, but he was particularly troubled by his time spent with Spielberg – a director that most any other actor would be honored to work with. Said LaBeouf:
“You get there, and you realize you’re not meeting the Spielberg you dream of. You’re meeting a different Spielberg, who is in a different stage in his career. He’s less a director than he is a f–king company.”
LaBeouf then proceeded to expand on his disillusionment with the legendary director and the on-set process involved in making a Steven Spielberg movie.
“Spielberg’s sets are very different. Everything has been so meticulously planned. You got to get this line out in 37 seconds. You do that for five years, you start to feel like not knowing what you’re doing for a living.”
Lastly, LaBeouf admitted that he isn’t a fan of any of the films that he made with Spielberg, save for one:
“I don’t like the movies that I made with Spielberg. The only movie that I liked that we made together was ‘Transformers’ one.”
On one hand, it’s easy to criticize LaBeouf for being ungrateful or perhaps even disrespectful of one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. But beneath the surface of what LaBeouf is saying there appears to be an actor who’s realizing who he is as a performer and what exactly is important to him. Having spent his entire life acting, it genuinely seems that LaBeouf is only now finding his voice and in the process, ditching the elements of his past that lead him to make unfortunate and problematic decisions both professionally and publicly.
The future for Shia LaBeouf is as unknown as it is for any of us, but with his recent turn in director Andrea Arnold’s critically acclaimed American Honey as well as an upcoming role as short fused, tennis superstar John McEnroe in the forthcoming Borg vs McEnroe, things look promising for a second chance. Now in his thirties, LaBeouf could very well be entering a new chapter of his life as an actor and perhaps this time around the work won’t be overshadowed by a troubled public persona.
You can catch Shia LaBeouf on the big screen next when American Honey begins a limited U.S. theatrical release on September 30th, 2016.