If Shia LaBeouf wants to be a young actor also known for bizarre public art, the least he could have done was send a heads up to James Franco. No worries, though. Franco is taking this transgression in stride.
However, seeing as this does involve a young actor doing unexpected things for attention under the guise of post-modern expression, Franco (who knows a thing or two about the proper way to plagiarize) has seen the need to step in. He penned an op-ed for the New York Times defending whatever it is that LaBeouf is trying to accomplish. Says James:
Any artist, regardless of his field, can experience distance between his true self and his public persona. But because film actors typically experience fame in greater measure, our personas can feel at the mercy of forces far beyond our control. Our rebellion against the hand that feeds us can instigate a frenzy of commentary that sets in motion a feedback loop: acting out, followed by negative publicity, followed by acting out in response to that publicity, followed by more publicity, and so on.
Right, but you don’t see Optimus Prime engaging in this kind of behavior.
Participating in this call and response is a kind of critique, a way to show up the media by allowing their oversize responses to essentially trivial actions to reveal the emptiness of their raison d’être.
Mr. LaBeouf has been acting since he was a child, and often an actor’s need to tear down the public creation that constrains him occurs during the transition from young man to adult. I think Mr. LaBeouf’s project, if it is a project, is a worthy one. I just hope that he is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist.
Personally, I think Shia’s maybe-project is pretty annoying and I’m starting to wish he’d forgotten to cut airholes in the bag. If he wants to shake up how the public and media perceive him, he can do so by not starting bar fights, not getting arrested in Walgreen’s, focusing less on paycheck movies and more so on those that are generally surprising while also creatively rewarding to him. If he really doesn’t like the scripts that are coming his way, then he should branch out and write his own. Using words he didn’t copy from a comic book. (NY Times)