ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, it's long been tempting to write off as a joke, a has-been, or a troubled young man with a very public history of apparent instability. And, of course, it's entirely possible that all of those descriptions could be entirely true. LaBeouf has, after all, said some fairly ridiculous things, his mainstream career is seemingly very much over, and he sure has done some unstable-seeming stuff.

He's also, though, one of a vanishingly small number of famous folks to have a sense of humor about his own ridiculousness — and has arguably very much opted out of the Hollywood system of his own accord. Plus, he's a big part of this particular slice of genius coming into existence (just wait for the sting at the end):

What's more, he's recently become something of a performance artist, and while his pieces have often attracted as much mockery as acclaim, there's little doubt that he's committed to his craft. Whether its catching rides across America in the name of art, sitting in a movie theater for three days straight watching all of his old films, or even trapping himself in an elevator with fans who want him to slap them, LaBeouf has long been willing to put his physical comfort and safety on the line in the name of art.

And, as he recently explained to during an appearance on the late night host's show, his performance art isn't just him messing around.

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[Shia LaBeouf/]

Instead, as he noted about his time in that movie theater (above):

"It’s kind of crazy, it starts like an ironic silly thing, like most of the things I do, and then it wound up in a really cool, sincere place, you know?"

Indeed, it seems that LaBeouf has a very particular approach to his art, with the actor noting that he's not overly protective of his own work — instead preferring to allow it to evolve into something else entirely once it's out of his direct control:

"You set up boundaries and then you give it to everybody else and you let them have it... It really turns into something special, man, you know, people wanna be a part of something."

All of which...actually kind of makes LaBeouf seem like a genuinely engaged artist, who might just have stepped away from mainstream movies for the best possible reason. Or, alternatively, he's still going through some stuff, and is just really good at covering it up. Though, that could probably be said of a whole lot of people when you think about it...

In the short term, then, perhaps it's best that we give LaBeouf the benefit of the doubt — not least because his latest movie, , is really rather good.

Still want more on Shia LaBeouf? Never fear, we've got you covered right here, and you can watch the trailer for the shiny new American Honey just below:

What do you think, though? Is Shia LaBeouf an artistic genius, or a lil' bit mad? Let us know below!

[Jimmy Kimmel]


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