If there's nothing else to be said for Shia LaBeouf, he's certainly committed to bringing a kind of authenticity to his projects. Antics on and off-screen have landed the one-time Even Stevens star in headlines for the past few years, not the least of which include his foray into performance art. While actors who include Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson, and like-minded meta-troll James Franco have all come to his defense, his co-stars on the cast of the John Hillcoat-directed Lawless have some less-than-fond memories of Yung LaBeouf and his commitment to the craft.
In a new interview with GQ, Hillcoat says that Shia displayed some serious method acting while on set, including but not limited to drinking moonshine excessively (just as Jack Bondurant would), meta-quarreling with Tom Hardy, and carving his initials onto the front door of one of his co-stars. There's method, and then there's really method—this is the latter.
In response to a question about Mia Wasikowska claiming she was "terrified" of LaBeouf, Hillcoat replied, "Well, the way they began was unfortunate, because he did take it too far. He showed up when she first arrived and was overenthusiastic. I understood where he was coming from—he just wanted to work with her straight up, and she was coming from a different sort of place. And he got carried away and carved their character names and a heart on her door. And we had to settle that. You know, we worked it out. But it was fine in the end." And maybe it was fine in the end, but Wasikowska wasn't the only one who had some issues with LaBeouf.
And also you have Tom Hardy, who's a famously difficult actor in some ways, too, and apparently didn't get along with Shia either.
Well, what happened on that set really is that they all started almost replicating the roles off set. So Shia started by idealizing Tom like his older brother, Forrest. And it was like this force of nature, like, "This guy is amazing." He was in awe, and it was like they were brothers, initially. And then, as time went on, there's this kind of competitiveness and this tension that was building between them, which was like in the film. So it kind of almost mirrored. What was happening off set was happening on set.
And then there was the whole moonshine thing.
The rumor from Lawless was that Shia LaBeouf spent the entire time drinking moonshine—was that the case?
Oh. A little bit. I didn't recommend that. And he was certainly not allowed on set like that.
For what it's worth, Hillcoat was transparent in his responses but also sang the praises of Shia's dedication. "You know, he was so excited and so dedicated to that role," he said. "He really wanted to get under the skin of it. And I think he did an amazing job, personally." Oh, Shia.