There’s a fine line between insanity and genius. Andy Kaufman was certainly a cutting edge performer who pushed the limits of comedy and entertainment, but his detractors said that he was certifiable. Vincent van Gogh was an artist of brilliance, but he also suffered from a variety of mental and physical ailments that resulted in mutilation and ultimately suicide.
There’s no denying that Shia LaBeouf is an extremely talented actor, one who Brad Pitt described as being one of the finest actors he has ever worked with. In no way am I trying to compare LaBeouf to the aforementioned luminaries, but there’s something to be said about the correlation of talent and a certain degree of madness. And, for those that have the kind of talent that is hard to describe or put into palatable terms, there is a possibility that something murky and indistinguishable lurks beyond the precipice that houses an uncanny aptitude for art.
In this writer’s opinion, LaBeouf — while talented — has not yet shown that his portrait belongs on an edifice with legendary thespians. So his behavior — specifically this new, hourlong “silent interview” with Dazed magazine (above) — edges more towards the discovery that something truly is amiss with the Transformers star. Whether or not his talent at performing is a byproduct of his mania, or his mania is a byproduct of growing up in an industry that judges one solely on their ability to embody another psyche, is a question better left to a qualified physician.
Shia has been known to get into drunken brawls, and has never shied away from controversy — albeit the sophomoric type — but earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival, LaBeouf stepped his game up a notch, first by walking out of a press conference for Nymphomaniac after uttering, “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.”
Later that night, LaBeouf attended the premiere of the film wearing a paper bag over his head with the proclamation: “I am not famous anymore.”
LaBeouf followed up this spectacle with an “art installation” piece in L.A. — dubbed #IAMSORRY — which consisted of visitors sharing a room with the actor as he sat at a wooden table with the infamous paper bag over his head, in silence. Then, of course, came that hilarious anecdote of the actor chasing around a homeless man before becoming so belligerent that he was escorted out of a Broadway play.
All of these bizarre antics were apparently set into motion after it was discovered that LaBeouf was accused of plagiarizing a Daniel Clowes graphic novel for a short film titled Howard Cantour.com.
The latest in LaBeouf’s series of bizarre antics comes in the form of this recent silent interview. It consisted of a two-week email exchange between LaBeouf and a Dazed editor that featured a fairly sub-normal set of questions, followed by a one-hour sit down between the two who each wore a go-pro camera on their head — not one word was spoken. You can visit the site to see the entire e-mail transcript of their conversation, but here’s one of the juicier tidbits of information Shia leaked when explaining his experience during the #IAMSORRY art installation:
One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me… There were hundreds of people in line when she walked out with disheveled hair and smudged lipstick. It was no good, not just for me but her man as well.
All of this begs the question: Is Shia, who is no doubt talented, out of his mind? Or, does he reside on an astral plane we have yet to visit?