It's been a hot topic of debate in recent weeks: What the hell happened to Shia LaBeouf? Has he lost his mind? Or, maybe, his antics are performance art.? Who really knows? Ever since he was accused of plagiarising graphic novelist Daniel Clowes in December, his behavior has been some of the most confusing we've seen in a while.

Some examples of his...confusing behavior: LaBeouf has issued apologies for plagiarising that were actually plagiarism, incessantly tweeted "I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE," and starred in a recent art exhibition #IAMSORRY, in which he wears a brown paper bag over his head with I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE written on it in permanent marker. 

As a result, it looks like occupational chameleon James Franco is coming to his defense. In a New York Times op-ed titled "Why Actors Act Out," Franco explained, "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."

He then goes on to compare LaBeouf to Marlon Brando, Joaquin Phoenix, and to himself, of course, for displaying similar acts of defiance. Comparing him to Phoenix, Franco wrote, "Even if the conceit was ultimately a joke (and initially it wasn’t clear that it was, for Mr. Phoenix stayed in character in public throughout the filming), [I'm Still Here] was nonetheless earnest about an actor’s need to take back a little bit of power over his image by making such a film."

Franco isn't exactly sure whether or not LaBeouf is screwing with us, but hopes for the best.

"For Mr. LaBeouf’s sake I hope it is nothing serious," Franco continues, "...[and] 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."

Check out the full op-ed here.

[via Vulture]