James Franco Writes Empathetic Essay On Shia LaBeouf's 'Performance Art'
James Franco Explains Shia LaBeouf
“The recent erratic behavior of Shia LaBeouf, the 27-year-old actor best known as the star of the Transformers movies, has sent the press into a feeding frenzy,” Franco began his essay. “Though the wisdom of some of his actions may seem questionable, as an actor and artist I’m inclined to take an empathetic view of his conduct.”
Franco then proceeded to recount the events, which led LaBeouf’s stunt-like behavior. Back in December, the former Disney Channel star was accused of plagiarism by graphic novelist Daniel Clowes. Clowes alleged – with compelling evidence – that LaBeouf ripped off a graphic novel of his to create his short film, HowardCantour.com. Thus, began LaBeouf’s protracted, trolling apology.
On Twitter, LaBeouf offered variations of “I’m sorry” with words pulled from formal apologies of other famous people. In the skies, he hired planes to show his contrition. He offered no explanation for the plagiarized plagiarism apologies, or for his newfound affection for skywriting. LaBeouf faux-retired from the conversation by declaring that he was no longer famous.
The actor’s latest bit – that he’s not famous – extended onto the red carpet at the Berlin Film Festival last week. Instead of catching a glimpse of the 27-year-old’s face, paparazzi cameras merely captured a brown bag that read “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE.”
Shia LaBeouf at the Berlin Film Festival
“This behavior could be a sign of many things, from a nervous breakdown to mere youthful recklessness,” Franco wrote. “For Mr. LaBeouf’s sake I hope it is nothing serious. Indeed I hope — and, yes, I know that this idea has pretentious or just plain ridiculous overtones — that his actions are intended as a piece of performance art, one in which a young man in a very public profession tries to reclaim his public persona.”
“I think Mr. LaBeouf’s project, if it is a project, is a worthy one,” Franco added. “I just hope that he is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist.”
– Chelsea Regan