Shia LaBeouf: misunderstood actor, hellraiser or dedicated artist? Perhaps all three. He’s certainly made no secret of his methods, which have included getting drunk on moonshine for “Lawless“ to the point of nearly causing Mia Wasikowska to exit the movie. He also dropped acid to help in his preparation for “The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman.” But his rigorous approach doesn’t always make him friends with his colleagues, and the news yesterday that he had left the Broadway production of “Orphans” was just the tip of the iceberg.
LaBeouf lit up his Twitter account (over)sharing emails from producers and fellow cast members that perhaps suggest that there’s more to his departure than “creative differences.” It would seem a spat with co-star Alec Baldwin was the cause, with LaBeouf sharing this email in which he writes: “A man can tell you he was wrong. That he did wrong. That he planned to. He can tell you when he is lost. He can apologize, even if sometimes it’s just to put an end to the bickering… Alec, Im [sic] sorry for my part of a dis-agreeable situation.”
And director Daniel Sullivan‘s response seems to back this up. “I’m too old for disagreeable situations. You’re one hell of a great actor. Alec is who he is. You are who you are. You two are incompatible. I should have known it,” he wrote. However, Baldwin did email LaBeouf and they seemed to patch up any differences they had, with the elder thesp saying: “When the change comes, how do we handle it, whether it be good or bad? What do we learn? I don’t have an unkind word to say about you. You have my word.”
It would also appear that LaBeouf had the support of the playwright Lyle Kessler, who wrote to the actor (after he had put his hand through a wall during rehearsal) saying, “What you’re doing is beautiful.” Meanwhile, LaBeouf’s co-star Tom Sturridge offered his sympathies in the wake of all this: “I said my piece but they didn’t listen. I don’t understand what has happened here. Maybe you had a more enlightening conversation with someone by now. All I can say is that it truly was an honor to work with you even if it was only for a few days. I was stunned by the work you were doing, the performance you were giving. I think you lifted the play to a place higher than maybe it even deserved to be.”
So where do we leave off? Well, LaBeouf hit Twitter again early this morning to share his thoughts on acting in general. And they are…something…:
the theater belongs not to the great but to the brash. acting is not for gentlemen, or bureaucratic-academics. what they do is antiart. actors used to be buried with a stake through the heart. those peoples performances so troubled on-lookers that they feared their ghosts. those actors moved the audience not such that they were admitted to graduate school, or recieved a complimentary review. but such that the audience feared for their soul. now that seems to me something to aim for. invent nothing, deny nothing, speak up, stand up, stay out of school.
And while this promises that the stories of the shoot of Lars Von Trier‘s “Nymphomaniac” will be epic, LaBeouf leaves us the greatest evidence of his craft: his one hour audition for “Orphans” which you can watch below. (And oh yeah, the play is still moving ahead without him, with previews to begin on March 19th).