Shia LaBeouf: Taking Method Acting Too Far?
Never one to be accused of not taking his job lightly, Shia LaBeouf has seriously upped the intensity levels for his latest roles.
In the upcoming movie “Lawless,” the 26-year-old plays a bootlegger named Jack Bondurant. To get into the spirit, he drank heavily and was said to be frequently angry on set.
There’s nothing new about method acting, of course, but LaBeouf seems unfazed by the notion of becoming consumed, which may have led to the untimely death of Heath Ledger after playing the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” (Jack Nicholson provided a warning of such before filming had even begun.)
While filming “Lawless,” a tale that combines a romanticized Wild West with the intrigue of gangsters, Shia’s aggressiveness in getting into character reportedly scared some of his coworkers.
He says Australian actress Mia Wasikowska even tried to back out of the picture midway through shooting, explaining, “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.
“Mia is very soft, and I think both of us were playing up the sides of us that worked with the character. So as I was playing up my alpha male, she was playing up her naïveté and softness.”
But was it an “alpha male” complex, or a symptom of more dangerous things to come?
LaBeouf is also set to appear in an upcoming independent film, “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman,” in which he plays a mobster who regularly enjoys acid trips.
So what’s the best way to make that kind of character come to life? According to Shia’s methods, the only way is to trip out a little.
"There's a way to do an acid trip like [the comedy] ‘Harold & Kumar’," he said, "and there's a way to be on acid."
“The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman” also marks Shia’s first nude scene in a movie. It’s not, however, the first time he’s taken his clothes off for the cameras - as he appeared naked in Sigur Ros’s music video for “Fjogur Piano.”