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Harrison Ford vs "fucking idiot" Shia LaBeouf

June 30, 2011 by Simon Kinnear in Opinion with 0 Comments

They might look like the best of friends here, but Harrison Ford thinks Shia LaBeouf is a “fucking idiot.”

Today’s big story for what passes as movie news nowadays is that Harrison Ford has gone public to say what many have thought for a long time, namely that “Shia LeBeouf is a fucking idiot.” Interviewed about his Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull co-star – who, last year, famously had a mardy moan about “dropping the ball” on the film – the legend said:

“As an actor, I think it’s my obligation to support the film without making a complete ass of myself. Shia is ambitious, attentive, and talented – and he’s learning how to deal with a situation which is very unique and difficult.”

Jeez, when professional grouch Harrison Ford – a guy who’s had his fair share of run-ins, and not exactly the definition of PR-friendly charm – thinks there’s a problem, it’s time to zip it. Pronto.

You’d think today’s stars would be better media trained but this is part-and-parcel of an actor who doesn’t know when to shut up. In a recent interview, LaBeouf claimed he spat constantly because he had a “wet mouth,” as if the torrent of piss that emanates from his gob wasn’t enough of a giveaway.

Before we go any further, let me lay my cards on the table. As an on-screen presence, I don’t mind LaBeouf.  He gave a necessary centre of dorky Everygeek charm to the first Transformers movie (even if the sequel tried to turn him into a Matrix-style ‘chosen one’) and Crystal Skull wasn’t his fault: that role would have defeated Olivier.

What gets me is his real-life utterances, specifically his willingness to denigrate the films that made his name. Shia LaBeouf movies have made over a billion dollars at the U.S. box office alone in the past five years, which makes him the most bankable star in the world.  And yet, La Beouf apparently isn’t happy with any of the work he’s done. Not just the Indy film but also Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which he also conveniently backtracked on after a critical smackdown.

And yet he considers Transformers: Dark of the Moon, currently getting the worst reviews of the year, to be the best of the trilogy. I give it a year before he notices the backlash and starts running away from responsibility for that one, too.

“Shia LaBeouf’s behaviour feels calculated, a tactic of insincere contrition to curry favour…”

It’s one thing to reflect on projects that in hindsight didn’t quite come off. But to constantly backtrack to court popularity and shift with the consensus is not the behaviour of an artist, but a grubby, self-serving politician doing a U-turn when the public mood turns ugly.

The weird thing is, I’m not sure Ford’s “fucking idiot” assessment tells the whole story. That’s the phrase I’d use to describe LaBeouf’s Transformers co-star Megan Fox, who got sacked for, essentially, getting carried away in a lapse of taste and tact. With LaBeouf, it doesn’t come across as puppyish enthusiasm. It feels calculated, a tactic of insincere contrition to curry favour. Trouble is, it’s backfired. Denigrating product that’s made you a millionaire is a smack in the mouth for movie fans who paid money in good faith. Have some backbone, man.

I’m reminded of of the contestant on Britain’s Got Talent who – after taking a beating from the judges – broke down and moaned that her song choice was forced upon her. Have today’s kids really become so fame-hungry that they’ll put up with any old crap for stardom, only to complain afterwards that “hey, deep down I’m an artist too, you know”?  The difference is that LaBeouf does this even after (techinically, in purely financial terms) he’s succeeded.

Say what you like about Tom Cruise, but at least he seems proud of his work. Despite that apparent need to be taken seriously as an actor (dig the checklist of great directors he’s worked with: Scorsese, Kubrick, PTA) Cruise never feels the need to rubbish the Cocktails or Knight and Days of his career. He knows who is paying his cheques.  Us, the moviegoing public.

LaBeouf is so spineless he’ll even tell interviewers the films he turned down – including 127 Hours and The Social Network – because “I’m looking for Warren Beatty-type game changers.” Now, I like the first Transformers movie, but it’s hardly Bonnie and fucking Clyde.

So maybe there’s a simpler explanation. Maybe LaBeouf really can’t spot a bad film from a classic even when it waves its giant CGI balls in his face. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Shia LaBeouf, a guy who needs our help to remind us what he is. All together now:

“You’re a fucking idiot.” (Even Han Solo thinks so.)

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