2014 has already proved to be an interesting year for 27-year-old actor Shia LaBeouf, who, after a plagiarism scandal, apologized via skywriting, attended a movie premiere with a bag over his head, and set up a performance art pop-up shop titled “I am Sorry.”
LaBeouf’s fellow actor James Franco has written an op-ed for the New York Times in which he weighs in on LaBeouf’s erratic behaviour because, well, “as an actor and artist I’m inclined to take an empathetic view of his conduct.”
Dr. Franco assesses that “This behaviour could be a sign of many things, from a nervous breakdown to mere youthful recklessness.”
He continues, “Our rebellion against the hand that feeds us can instigate a frenzy of commentary that sets in motion a feedback loop: acting out, followed by negative publicity, followed by acting out in response to that publicity, followed by more publicity, and so on.”
Franco goes on to compare LaBeouf, and other young actors who push the boundaries (like himself), to Marlon Brando:
Actors have been lashing out against their profession and its grip on their public images since at least Marlon Brando. Brando’s performances revolutionised American acting precisely because he didn’t seem to be “performing,” in the sense that he wasn’t putting something on as much as he was being.
Off-screen he defied the studio system’s control over his image, allowing his weight to fluctuate, choosing roles that were considered beneath him and turning down the Oscar for best actor in 1973. These were acts of rebellion against an industry that practically forces an actor to identify with his persona while at the same time repeatedly wresting it from him.
To read Franco’s full Op-Ed in The NY Times, click here >
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