NEW YORK – Shia LaBeouf’s character in “The Company You Keep,” Ben Shepard, may be a reporter, but he’s not the same as Robert Redford’s Bob Woodward in “All The President’s Men.”
The two films take place nearly 40 years apart and the world-and reporting on it-has changed over that time, so one shouldn’t be surprised that the characters are different. The comparisons, however, are inevitable as Redford directs LaBeouf in “Company.”
The younger actor understands exactly why such comparisons would be made. In discussing Redford’s Woodward, he told us that Redford’s portrayal in “President’s Men” is the “preeminent performance” of a reporter; that playing a reporter for Redford is like playing a boxer for De Niro (who played Jack La Motta in “Raging Bull”).
High praise indeed, and throughout the interview, LaBeouf made it entirely clear that he has a lot of respect for the Hollywood icon. According to him, for Redford directing is not the same egocentric process that it is for others. “Bob has no need for that… he’s a different breed.”
As for what it’s like being a crime journalist today, LaBeouf clearly feels as though they have a tough job. He told us that not only is the pay poor, but “it’s a constant juggle between being a good human and being good at your job.”
To us it was unclear if LaBeouf felt as though a Bob Woodward type of journalist could emerge today. Technology and the availability of information have radically altered the landscape. As he put, “crime journalists have Twitter now,” a thought he soon followed up with “that changes everything.”
“The Company You Keep” opens in NY and LA on Friday, April 5th, and will expand to more cities in the coming weeks. Outside of LaBeouf and Redford, film’s cast also includes Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Anna Kendrick, Brit Marling, and Terrence Howard.