fter fleeing CGI monsters in all three blockbuster Transformers movies and dare-deviling in the latest Indiana Jones installment, Shia LaBeouf seemed poised to become a mega-star with the best box-office record of his generation. But thanks to high-profile interviews, in which he confessed to an affair with a co-star, criticized his directors, and attacked the entire Hollywood studio system, LaBeouf has become persona non grata in much of the industry. That may be just fine with LaBeouf, who insists he wants to make more "serious" films, like this week's Lawless, a period bootlegger drama that's clearly gunning for Oscars. But Lawless isn't the only way the one-time Disney Channel actor is endeavoring to transition from popcorn hero to respected actor. Indeed, "Shia LaBeouf is trying so hard to be serious that it's impossible to take him seriously," says Tim Grierson at Deadspin. Here, four strange ways he's proving his artsy cred:
1. Doing full-frontal nudity
LaBeouf kicked off the "serious" risk-taking phase of his cinematic career this summer by appearing fully naked in a determinedly ponderous and unfathomable eight-and-a-half minute music video for the song "Fjögur piano" by Icelandic band Sigur Rós. Though LaBeouf also gropes the bare breasts of his costar in the video, he assures the Associated Press that he "didn't get into (acting) to be a porn guy."
2. Agreeing to have sex on camera
For his role in The Nymphomaniac, the upcoming erotic drama from controversial director Lars von Trier, LaBoeuf plans to have unsimulated sex on camera. "There's a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says we're doing it for real," says LaBeouf in an interview with MTV News. "Everything that is illegal, we'll shoot in blurred images."
3. Dropping acid on set
LaBeouf's embrace of a "method-like" process means that he spent plenty of time on the set of Lawless drinking moonshine, reports Andrea Mandell of USA Today. But that's nothing compared to the lengths he went for his upcoming film The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, in which LaBeouf's character experiments with acid: The young actor decided to take L.S.D. for real. "There's a way to do an acid trip like Harold & Kumar, and there's a way to be on acid," LaBeouf explains. "Sean Penn actually strapped up to that (electric) chair in Dead Man Walking. These are the guys that I look up to."
4. Terrifying his Lawless co-star
In an interview with Fox News, LaBeouf concedes that Lawless costar Mia Wasikowska was so unsettled by his "aggressive method acting and drinking" that she called her attorney in an attempt to leave the film. He was a tad stalkerish off-set, too, he admits: "I had been thinking about Mia for months, before I ever was to meet her. For months. For me, I was so eager to meet her and anticipated meeting her so greatly that I scared her because I was just so eager."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How Ukraine can fend off the Russians, in 7 simple steps
- These stunning travel photos remind us that we're all just amateurs with iPhones
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
- How to make homemade marshmallow Peeps
Subscribe to the Week