Shia LaBeouf first appeared on the scene as dorky brother Louis Stevens in the Disney comedy "Even Stevens" in 1999, long before his status as Hollywood heartthrob was existent. It would take until 2007 for studio hits such as "Disturbia" and "Transformers" to catapult him to fame and open the door to a public brashness that burned more bridges than it built.
And now the 26-year-old LaBeouf has declared that he's cutting ties with the big-budget studios to join the independent film community permanently, a development that may suit the studios as well.
In an exclusive interview LaBeouf gave to "The Hollywood Reporter" yesterday, the actor talked about his future filmmaking plans, and he was less than subtle in his intention to "bolt" from the studio family, which behaves very different from, to use LaBeouf's example, Voltage Pictures, the financier of his new period film "Lawless":
"These dudes are a miracle," he says. "They give you the money, and they trust you — [unlike the studios, which] give you the money, then get on a plane and come to the set and stick a finger up your ass and chase you around for five months."
This follows news that LaBeouf is in talks to join director Lars von Trier's indie film "Nymphomaniac," a sexually explicit film slated for a 2013 release with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard in tow.
This is just the latest recent non-mainstream gig for LaBeouf. He stars in "Lawless," a crime drama set for an August 29 release, and "The Company You Keep," a thriller starring acting legends Robert Redford and Susan Sarandon that will have its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.
So the evidence is there that LaBeouf is serious — for now — about a departure from the studio flicks that made him a young star: "I, Robot" (2004), "Constantine" (2005), the "Transformers" franchise (2007, 2009, 2011), and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (2008). Depending on how the new indie films do — and the fortitude of LaBeouf's agents — his goodbye to the mainstream world could last as long as a Malick film or be as short as one of Michael Bay's edits.