Because no one has paid attention to Shia LaBeouf in roughly the past 48 hours, the troubled star took it upon himself to grab more headlines by stealing thunder at the Nymphomaniac press conference at the Berlin International Film Festival. And in an impressive bout of LaBeouf-ery, the actor surprised the media with what he said AND with what he didn’t say.
LaBeouf was in Berlin to help promote Lars Von Trier’s controversial film (which probably doesn’t need any additional attention, but hey, the cast was willing to hang in Berlin… at least, temporarily). THR reports that LaBeouf was asked one question by a media member, something along the lines of what it was like acting in a movie that required so many sex scenes. The actor responded:
With that, LaBeouf got up from the press conference and exited. He’d been there for roughly 10 minutes, according to the trade. THR also noes that LaBeouf’s co-stars – including Christian Slater, Uma Thurman and Stellan Skarsgard -- "looked stunned for a moment" after LaBeouf’s non-answer, and Slater tried to liven the mood by making a joke, saying, "Obviously, the script is packed with a lot of sardines... one sardine after another."
THR notes that the quote LaBeouf dropped on the media can be attributed to French soccer star Eric Cantona, who used the line at the end of a Ken Loach film Looking for Eric. So, more conceptual performance art from the former star of Holes? The trade reports on LaBeouf’s bizarre behavior since landing in Germany to support Nymphomaniac at the film fest. They say that he is thinner than usual, and that he appears to be missing a tooth… something he might have done to prepare for a role in David Ayer’s WWII movie Fury.
THR also says that LaBeouf was in an altercation with patrons at the Ritz-Carlton on Saturday evening after three young men tried to take the actor’s picture. Friends of LaBeouf allegedly intervened before things got out of control.
Normally, LaBeouf’s antics would prove amusing. As an actor, he has routinely come off as arrogant and self-important, and this behavior suggests, to me, that his public persona is crumbling. LaBeouf probably needed to be brought down a few pegs. But the recent loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman reminds me that, left unchecked, personal problems can be fatal. Maybe it’s time for those in Shia’s inner circle to step up and get him some serious help, if – in fact – he needs it, and this isn’t some public stunt to get publicity he regularly claims he doesn’t want. At t he very least, we have another LaBeouf story that distracts from the film he’s being asked to promote. Of course, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but don’t you imagine Von Trier wanted several articles written about his actual film, and not the hot-headed actor he decided to cast in said movie several months ago?
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.