LaBeouf hailed for 'Lawless' role 0
Shia LaBeouf (WENN.COM file photo)
Just to clear up any confusion -- the illicit activity in Shia LaBeouf's new movie isn't the Transformers star doing the nasty for full-frontal real.
(That happens next when LaBeouf shoots The Nymphomaniac for bad boy Danish director Lars von Trier.)
Rather, it's the bootlegging that serves as the backdrop of Lawless, in which LaBeouf stars as the youngest of a trio of brothers (along with Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke) carving out their version of the American dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. It opens Wednesday.
While the only articles of clothing that come off during the course of the true-life story are his boots, LaBeouf's performance as the wide-eyed Jack Bondurant in the hard-hitting, backwoods gangster film is being hailed as his most accomplished and mature to date.
"Well, a lot of it was on the page," shrugs LaBeouf, sporting a scraggly beard and long, unkempt hair that gives off a just-woke-up vibe despite it being a bright, sunny Beverly Hills afternoon. "It was an incredible book (Matt Bondurant's The Wettest County in the World) translated into an incredible script and we were surrounded by incredible actors, so it was hard to drop the ball if you followed all the guidelines."
Still, evident humility aside, these days LaBeouf looks to be drawn to more complex roles that would appear to be light years away from Sam Witwicky and those Transformers movies.
"I didn't commit any less to Indiana Jones and Transformers, it was just different sensibilities," maintains LaBeouf. "I think if you asked an 18-year-old what he wants to do with his life, and the options are Transformers or Lars von Trier, he's probably shipping out for Transformers. You ask a 26-year-old what he wants to do, he'd probably pick von Trier. So my sensibilities are changing as I'm changing."
So, then the future holds more indies than Indy?
"It would be straight bulls-- if I said to you the money isn't nice, but I never got into it for the money or signed onto any project for the money, ever," insists the product of a hippie L.A. upbringing. "Money's never been important to me. I come from garbage. I'm a sewer rat who made it here. Money comes from something like Transformers, but if they had said, 'Hey, you've got to do this for free,' I'd be there. It was a big deal in my life, aside from the money. For me, Michael Bay, at 18? Big deal."
And while he also claims that there is no great, grand strategy where his career is concerned (although his managers might feel differently), he does depend on a certain feeling in his gut to help him choose his next role.
"Usually, it's a pretty good indicator if I feel fear right away," says LaBeouf. "That's a pretty good indicator that I'm shipping out immediately. If it scares me and I can't stop thinking about it and I don't know if I really can do it, I'm going!"
Paging Lars von Trier -- Mr. LaBeouf is ready for his close-up.