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A Shia LaBeouf interview is always going to be ripe with minable quotes and anecdotes. But wow, my man is really on a Jaden Smith or, dare I say, Kanye West level here. Just about every answer in this interview with Shia and his artistic collaborators Rönkkö and Turner with whom he staged the #AllMyMovies art installation/Shia's Films Festival/insomnia movie theater experiment with is golden.
To summarize, Shia goes into detail about his own loneliness and self-loathing and the ways in which #AllMyMovies helped him conquer those feelings, if even temporarily. There's also talk about the feelings of exclusion within the film world and the art world proper and how he and NewHive are working to break down those boundaries. There are also some interesting details about the way they approached the project overall, like picking the smallest theater on purpose and apparently turning away celebrities who asked to attend and skip the line. But the ways in which Shia (and at some points, Rönkkö and Turner as well) manifest these opinions is simply amazing. These are some of the highlights:
Shia, contextualizing the ways in which #AllMyMovies helped him love himself and feel loved, through ordering coffee:
[LaBeouf]: It’s as simple as this: I used to order my coffee and when they’d say, “Hey what’s your name?” I’d say James, because I didn’t want them to say my name.
Turner: Someone walked up in the gallery we were in today and said, “Hey, are you Shia?” and normally every time we’re together it’s like “no no no.” But for the first time ever today, “Hey are you Shia?” “Yeah.”
LaBeouf: I would never claim my name. And today it’s just something different, it’s as simple as that. And it’s not through thought it’s just “that’s me” and I’m cool with that. It’s the first time really in my life, before the other shows, because all of the other shows never changed my coffee order name. This shit changed my coffee order name, which in turn, changed my sense of self.
On pizza, which can be art (true af fam):
[LaBeouf]: You’re not born an artist, or everyone is. You’re not born an actor, or everyone is. It’s about drive, a dedication level to this very specific thing. Roofers, pizza guys, anyone can be an artist. Anybody who’s great at anything. Making pizza can be an art.
Rönkkö: We were getting pizza in London once and this guy had a massive “I love pizza” tattoo on his neck. He was so dedicated.
LaBeouf: That guy is an artist. If you eat his pizza you get it. But you gotta eat the pizza. If you’re over here and just staring at the pizza you don’t get it. You see that it might be aesthetically brilliant, you might even smell it from here–
Verdin: Or you might be like this dude’s fucking crazy, he’s got “I love pizza” tattooed on him.
Turner: Exactly. And you haven’t tried his pizza yet.
On literally squirming in his seat during his "shit" movies such as Transformers 2, as a genuine, non-performance reaction:
LaBeouf: I think it started after Lawless. When the movies started getting shit. I’m telling you. When the movies started getting shit and they knew that I felt it too, it was the shared secret that we all had…not just because I’m in it…I’m in the same boat as you, I’m a viewer in this and this is hard for me to watch too. In fact, I’m gonna go take a nap ‘cause I hate myself, not ‘cause I’m tired, but because I’m dying right now. And nobody had a problem with that. When I woke up an hour later and watched
Transformers 2 they could feel when I sunk in my seat. That’s not a performative thing. That’s me going through some kind of crisis. And I’m not the only one. I remember right before I fell asleep I looked next to me and the guy next to me was falling asleep. You can see it on the screenshot we’re both asleep. And the guy behind us is asleep.
On choosing the smallest theater in the Angelika to heighten the communal experience, for good or bad:
LaBeouf: It amplified it being in a small room like that. Everyone in that theater could throw popcorn at me. See I thought it was going to be—
Turner: Really, you thought people were going to throw popcorn at you?
LaBeouf: Yeah, I always go into these things every time—and this is my self-hate at work—what if they light my hair on fire? And Luke’s like, “Nobody is going to light your hair on fire.” But this is a genuine fear of mine. I think people hate me. That’s just what goes on in my head. And all I want to do is be liked. Men, women, people don’t really want a lot. A person to talk to, and not have problems with nobody, I think it gets really simple when you get to the bottom of it. For an actor, for a fireman, it don’t matter, you just want to be liked. You don’t even necessarily want to be liked or loved. You just don’t want anyone to hate you. I walked out loving myself. Not in some grandiose, you’re fucking awesome way, but in like, you’re a part of a community. You’re a part of this human thing. You’re in this human thing. I’ve always felt as though, “I’m just an animal in this human thing. And I’ll play the human game. I’ll wear the human mask.” But coming out of there, it’s the first time I’ve actually felt part of this —it was very humanizing for me. I walked out loving myself. And I don’t think I was the only one to feel that.
Shia, absolutely nailing why the streets love him in an instant-classic one-liner:
LaBeouf: The movie world is just as elitist. I get emails from people in the movie world, people telling me, “You gotta maintain mystery.”…but truth will always find its way out there. Sincerity is the new punk rock.
It damn sure is, Shia. Read the full interview here.