Shia LaBeouf talks Indiana Jones to Tim Nasson
Shia LaBeouf’s first movie of 2007, “Disturbia,” is still in theaters, having debuted at #1 its first weekend – April 13th – 15th. And “Disturbia” currently holds the title of movie to stay in the #1 spot at the box office for the most number of weeks this year – three weeks!
“Disturbia,” the movie we first sat with LaBeouf for this year, was just the beginning.
In addition to “Disturbia,” the twenty-year old voiced the main character in “Surf’s Up,” the animated penguin film, which also remains in theaters, after a luke warm first weekend at the box office – and with movie critics. Wild About Movies sat with LaBeouf in Honolulu, Hawaii, a second time this year, a few weeks before “Surf’s Up” washed onto shores stateside.
Shia LaBeouf’s biggest chance for superstardom – before “Indiana Jones 4″ hits theaters Memorial Day 2008, is this July 4th, weekend, in what Paramount Pictures hopes will be the biggest box office success of the summer, “Transformers The Movie.”
In total, Wild About Movies sat with LaBeouf three times during the past year and have put together an extensive interview for you.
Shia Saide LaBeouf was born June 11, 1986, in Los Angeles, California, to Jeffrey LaBeouf and Shayna Saide, and is an only child. His parents are divorced, and he lives with his mom in Los Angeles. He started his career by doing stand-up comedy around places in his neighborhood, such as coffee clubs. One day, he saw a friend of his act on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” (1993), and wanted to become an actor. Shia and his mom talked it over, and the next day he started looking for an agent. He searched in the yellow pages, called one up, and did a stand-up routine in front of him. They liked him and signed him, and then he started auditioning. He’s well known for playing Louis Stevens in the popular Disney Channel series “Even Stevens” (2000) and has won a Daytime Emmy for his performance. Shia LaBeouf is certainly opinionated and has a mind of his own.
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that he is a follower or someone who listens to conventional wisdom! Click here to read our interview with LaBeouf from earlier this year, where he proves he is a very good liar, especially when it comes to talking about “Indiana Jones 4.”
Below, find out, what LaBeouf says about his role in “Indiana Jones 4,” now that the “Indiana Jones” has commenced filming, with Stephen Spielberg behind the camera, and what his experiences were filming “Transformers The Movie,” with Spielberg as executive producer.
Wild About Movies: What’s your favorite animated film, now that you’re forever, on screen as the voice of a penguin in “Surf’s Up?”
Shia LaBeouf: ‘Toy Story.’ That’s one of my favorite films and not just in animation. We had people involved from that and so that was reassuring.
Wild About Movies: What makes Cody Maverick an endearing character?
Shia LaBeouf: Cody wants to be a winner and he comes from a family of people who aren’t encouraging him to follow his dreams and so he’s the underdog. He’s very normal and we’re not playing up a lot of the penguin things. He’s very human in that way and often times in animation you don’t get that. You don’t get the reality in the characters. Sometimes it’s just too much shtick with the banana peels making you slip. In a movie like this you really get to find the thread and the soul of the character and you get to explore a bunch of stuff that you wouldn’t normally have in animation especially the fact that he doesn’t have a father. That’s pretty dramatic for animation and so stuff like that was really fun, jumping around from joking with Jon Heder and having all of those laughs and going into this romance with Zooey Deschanel and then going into the father son thing with Jeff Bridges. So all that stuff was just a lot of fun for me, just as a performer, period.
Wild About Movies: How do you research being a penguin?
Shia LaBeouf: You’ve got to talk to other penguins. You have to get into the mind of a penguin. We had a lot of really great penguin actors who had come off of ‘Meet the Penguins’ and had come onto our set. They were really like some of the best in the business. They are very prima donna types though.
Wild About Movies: So, seriously, now, what was it like working on Transformers?
Shia LaBeouf: Transformers was crazy. It’s just a different type of movie, a different form of it.
Wild About Movies: A lot of green screens and blue screens?
Shia LaBeouf: No. Not a lot.
Wild About Movies: Oh really?
Shia LaBeouf: No. We built the robots, we blew stuff up. This all really happened. There’s stuff we could’ve done on green screen but the way that Michael Bay works, and the way he works with actors, which is why it’s funny to me he goes to such lengths to put his actors in situations that are safe but seem dangerous and waits for their reaction and their response. He’s actually an actor’s director. It’s conducive to the performance because then you are responding. And he goes out of his way to do that. If you’re shooting a movie in 80 days, you can easily go to green screen and fake me being on the Orpheum Theatre, blowing the roof up, hanging by one hand while my feet are on fire.
You know that stuff you can do on green screen. But he took us to the Orpheum Theatre, blew the Orpheum Theatre up, lit my feet on fire. You don’t have to go mind F yourself, you know. You show up to set and the works done for you. You just have to respond. And so it’s funny to me that people say he’s not an actor’s director. If I didn’t have Bay, I wouldn’t have gotten through Transformers. There’s only one dude who could’ve made that movie. You couldn’t have DJ make Transformers and Michael Bay couldn’t have made Disturbia. They’re two different textures, two different paints. You know the difference between a Warhol and a Picasso, and I’m not saying that they’re either one of those or that they’re at that level, but they’re just two different textures.
Wild About Movies: Were you a Transformers fan before you even signed up?
Shia LaBeouf: Huge. Star Wars was a bit early for me so I didn’t fall into the fanatical Star Wars thing. But Transformers was the male Barbie. I mean Transformers was at everyone’s house, not just at yours, but you’d go to a piñata party or something or a Quinceañera, everybody had them.
Wild About Movies: So it was a dream come true in a way, getting a role in the Transformers movie?
Shia LaBeouf: Yeah, but again, it was a cheesy cartoon. It was never what it is now and it’s turning into like… it’s becoming very serious. They’re making a whole storyline. Now they have a prequel book that I just read that just came out and it explains all the stuff that I had never even thought about. There’s the whole lingo that goes along with it. It’s very similar to Star Wars and the fan base and the passion of it. I don’t know about the mass and how big that fan base is, but the people who are into it are into it. They have Decepticon back logos, tattoos all over the place, Transformers, arm pieces.
You don’t see people getting Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow on their back. They don’t get those back pieces, they get Decepticon logos. They take the Ford symbol off their car and replace it with an Autobot symbol. People are fanatical about it. You go on Ain’t It Cool News or any of these websites and it’s all Transformers. Again, now I don’t know what the internet amounts to, but I know we’re the most downloaded trailer in Yahoo’s history. But again, you can’t count on things like that. Snakes on a Plane had a huge internet following and then what happened?
Wild About Movies: It sounds like you have gone online and read some of the things.
Shia LaBeouf: Oh, non stop. Of course.
Wild About Movies: How much of what was on screen was you? How much was stuntmen like when you were hanging off of that building?
Shia LaBeouf: Probably 90% was me. Well that building stuff is all me.
Wild About Movies: You’ve got some fast wheels.
Shia LaBeouf: Oh, running, yeah. When you film it from the side, it looks way faster.
Wild About Movies: Outrunning Decepticons!
Shia LaBeouf: No, no no.
Wild About Movies: Were there real helicopters being used during filming, and real explosions?
Shia LaBeouf: Yeah, all the time, every day. Most of the explosions were real.
Wild About Movies: Was there a point where you thought, ‘I’m going to lose my life’?
Shia LaBeouf: Every day. You look at Michael Bay and Bay’s all frantic ‘Put him on the thing. Put him on the thing!’ That’s scary because you’re moving so fast. You don’t want him to mess up and forget that you’re on the thing.
Wild About Movies: What was your favorite thing you got to do on set that ended up in the film?
Shia LaBeouf: That rooftop stuff is just great. Oh, the banter? Probably stuff with the parents. All the stuff with the parents. All that stuff was pretty funny.
Wild About Movies: Like where you say ‘you handsome man’ to your dad?
Shia LaBeouf: That’s a good one. There were a couple of them. They were all fun to do.
Wild About Movies: This movie is pretty funny. How did you balance that? It seems to make sense because it’s pretty ridiculous. You’ve got robots…
Shia LaBeouf: Yeah. In keeping with the tone of the cartoon. You can’t make a Transformer movie. That’s like making.. I was going to make some stupid analogy but you can’t do it without the humor. The cartoon had humor.
Wild About Movies: Isn’t it hard to take that stuff too seriously?
Shia LaBeouf: Yeah. You’ve got to look at what it was. It was this ‘80’s cheesy cartoon that’s now become something else.
Wild About Movies: Are you signed up for a sequel, if they decide to make one?
Shia LaBeouf: Yes, one more.
Wild About Movies: In the end where you are making out on the hood of the car, don’t you think that’s kind of weird that you’ve got these robots hanging around?
Shia LaBeouf: Yeah, like a threesome. That’s how it was planned.
Wild About Movies: Was it in the script that you get depantsed by one of the robots?
Shia LaBeouf: Oh yeah. All that was in there. It went way further into it too. The script was really disturbing.
Wild About Movies: You were too young when the toys originally came out, but what were your toys as a kid?
Shia LaBeouf: Yogi Bear. That was it.
Wild About Movies: Does Michael Bay talk all through it like ‘He’s doing this. He’s doing that’?
Shia LaBeouf: Yeah. His whole demeanor changes too. He starts doing this soft, narrator voice. He goes like yelling‘Quiet on the fuckin’ set. Quiet on the fuckin’ set!’ Then, whispering, ‘He’s moving. There’s no legs. There’s no legs on him.’ Then he laughs.
Wild About Movies: What have the last couple of months been like for you with Disturbia being a hit, then Surf’s Up, and now that your’re part of Indiana Jones 4?
Shia LaBeouf: It’s crazy. It’s nuts. A few times you’ll just catch me with nothing else to say. I don’t know what to say about it. I don’t know how it happened or what’s going on. It’s just nuts.
Wild About Movies: You can wait a long time for something like this?
Shia LaBeouf: Yeah, but you never expect it to explode like that though. The Indy news alone would have been my year, my life! So, it’s just been wild. Nobody expected Disturbia to be a hit.
Wild About Movies: Which one is your favorite robot?
Shia LaBeouf: Bumblebee.
Wild About Movies: This might be the big teen fave movie of the summer. When you were a teenager, what was the big movie that just blew you away?
Shia LaBeouf: Titanic, for me was big. That was the one. It had to be.When I was twelve Titanic was like a party, man. I went like four or five times and Scream was a big deal.
Wild About Movies: Have you been on the set of “Indiana Jones” at all?
Shia LaBeouf: Next week. (Mid June 2007)
Wild About Movies: Are you going to sneak in and put on the hat and the leather jacket?
Shia LaBeouf: Oh, that’s already happened, oh yeah!
Wild About Movies: How are you holding up? You’ve said ‘I might just burn out by the end of the year’?
Shia LaBeouf: Yeah. Well, I feel like I’ll get burned out until I’m on the set and it’s the first day and Steven’s behind the monitor and Harrison’s right there and it’s just all adrenaline and then you’re like just wired.