Last night, I stopped by New York’s Angelika Film Center to experience #ALLMYMOVIES, the latest bizarre art-related endeavor from Transformers star Shia LaBeouf.
The 29-year-old actor is currently engaged in a marathon viewing session of all 72 hours of movies he has appeared in since 1998, from The Christmas Path to the still-unreleased Man Down. The whole thing is being live-streamed, and it’s free to stop into the theater and watch alongside LaBeouf, provided you’re willing to wait in line.
While some of LaBeouf’s quirky actions—a 144-lap METAMARATHON around Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, teaming up with grad students to make video art (including a meme-ready inspiration speech), and a modern dance music video with Australian singer and songwriter Sia—are in some ways refreshingly down to earth, I can’t help be slightly worried about the guy, who shares my birth year. Other famous 1986 babies have gone dramatically off the rails, and I’m still not entirely convinced this isn’t some Amanda Bynes/Lindsay Lohan-style meltdown dressed up as artistry.
The paper bag he wore on the red carpet at the Berlin International Film Festival which advertised “I am not famous anymore” was creepy and unsettling, and LaBeouf’s claims that he was raped during an accompanying performance piece at a Los Angeles gallery were downright disturbing.
Even worse are his numerous arrests, most involving alcohol, including one just last month. (The Telegraph has a helpful timeline of all of LaBeouf’s troubling antics, if you want a complete breakdown.) There’s also something vaguely serial killer-esque about his bushy beard, but maybe that’s just me.
However, visitors to the event didn’t appear to share my concern. “He’s just a unique and wonderful person,” New York University student John Lanternier said, who was there with his friend and fellow student Venneeda Keowmang. The pair had been waiting in line roughly two hours, and had plans to return the following day.
“We’re absolute huge fucking fans of Shia LaBeouf—but not in a weird way,” added audience member Michael Kushner, who was there with his business partner. He believed that the event was art—but only if LaBeouf sees if through. “If he just bounces after a couple of movies then it is just a stunt,” he said.
“It’s definitely artistic,” allowed Stanley Rojas, a filmmaker who described LaBeouf as a “good actor.”
Others were unconvinced. “I know anyone can make anything art, but I don’t think it is art,” said Damaris Segarra, who grew up watching LaBeouf’s days of Disney Channel stardom on Even Stevens. “I think it’s because he’s crazy.” She was at the screening with her friend Alyssa Chryssafis, and they were prepared to wait, but only for so long—Chryssafis wasn’t going to miss the 9:30 train back to New Jersey.
The Angelika isn’t turning press away, but the staff is under strict instructions not to speak to reporters. While my experience differed in some respected from that of Gothamist‘s Miranda Katz (she was searched by security and strictly warned against using her cell phone and camera), there were some striking similarities. We both sat in front of the actor, and were apparently the only ones who felt compelled to watch LaBeouf during his durational performance piece. I turned around to observe him during a brief, fairly brutal sex scene from Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, but from what I could tell LaBeouf remained unfazed.
While visitors seemed impressed by the potentially-grueling aspect of the performance, I spotted LaBeouf munching on what appeared to be popcorn, and Twitter users are reporting that the actor has been allowing himself bathroom breaks.
The video feed accompanying the performance has been spotty at best—I had it open on my second monitor for a good while yesterday. At one point, LaBeouf appeared to be rubbing his face in an effort to stay awake, before it cut out for the rest of the afternoon. Tuning in this morning, I was surprised not to find LaBeouf in his assigned seat, only to have the feed fail yet again. (Just as a comparison, Marina Abramović‘s “The Artist is Present” performance ran from March–May 2010 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and was over 700 hours long, albeit only during museum hours.)
As with his earlier artistic endeavors, LaBeouf has teamed with Finnish conceptual artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö and the British performance artist Luke Turner. The trio go by the name the Campaign Book, which is also LaBeouf’s Twitter handle.
While #ALLMYMOVIES might initially seem an exercise in vanity, I can’t help but think that it might be more akin to reading old diaries, always a deeply embarrassing proposition. It has to be bizarre to watch yourself grow up on screen, not to be mention reliving unpleasant flops (Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, anyone?). Nevertheless, if there’s anything unpleasant about this exercise, LaBeouf remains an actor to the core: from what I saw, the man has an impressive poker face. (Social media reports about his reactions to the third Transformers movie suggest otherwise.)
While most people in line were self-professed LaBeouf aficionados, there may have also been some hate watching: one man, near the back of the line, told me “no, not at all” when asked if he was a fan of the actor. He clammed up when asked to elaborate, giving a terse “no comment.”
#ALLMYMOVIES is at Angelika Film Center in New York from November 10-12, 2015.
Shia LaBeouf’s most bizarre moments: a timeline
As the former Transformers star is accused of plagiarism, we chart some of the bad choices and bizarre antics that have defined his troubled life
Actor Shia LaBeouf has come a long way since his poverty-stricken childhood in Los Angeles. After landing a role as a young teen on the Disney Channel’s Even Stevens, the star transitioned smoothly into a film career, starring in blockbusters such as the Transformers franchise, I, Robot and Eagle Eye. In later years, he took on more challenging, arthouse roles, including Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac.
In recent months LaBeouf’s behaviour has become increasingly erractic, from starting a fight outside an LA strip club, to slapping fellow theatre-goers during a performance of Cabaret. As the actor stages his latest performance art stunt, we track his eventful life:
June 30, 2015
The actor is accused of stealing lyrics from a rap crew when he performed “freestyle”. A video of LaBeouf , in which the Transformers star is seen shirtless and spitting while energetically rapping, went viral. Pri the Honeydark, the MC and music producer, who is part of a rap collective called the Anomalies, then accused LaBeouf of plagiarism, saying: “You can’t rip songs from my Anomalies crew, recite them in freestyle as your own, then not expect to be called out by ACTUAL MCs!… This is straight disrespect to lyricism.”
LaBeouf also declared himself to be the “best to do this” since TuPac.
September 25, 2014
Shia LaBeouf runs a marathon around the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (Picture: EPA)
A bearded LaBeouf dons purple spandex leggings and a green vest to run 144 laps around the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The actor remained silent throughout his “marathon”, but Hendrik Folkerts, public programme curator at the museum, said the run – undertaken by LaBeouf and two other performance artists – was a performance art piece, staged to mirror a 12-hour art conference taking place inside the building.
According to BBC News, Mr Folkerts said: “As we are having a ‘marathon’ conference inside the Stedelijk, we also wanted a reflection of that outside. Nobody can do it better than Shia and the other artists at this performance.”
September 21 2014
LaBeouf tweets a definition of the word “run”.
September 8- September 20 2014
LaBeouf takes up running, posting pictures of his daily routes on his Twitter account via his NIke+ running app. The routes all form individual letters, spelling out the word “metamarathon”.
The last of LeBeouf’s “metamarathon” tweets
July 2, 2014 Rumours that LaBeouf has checked himself into rehab appear online. His agent releases a statement: “He understands that these recent actions are a symptom of a larger health problem and he has taken the first of many necessary steps towards recovery. Contrary to previous erroneous reports, Shia LaBeouf has not checked into a rehabilitation facility but he is voluntarily receiving treatment for alcohol addiction.”
June 29, 2014
TMZ release a video of LaBeouf apparently trying to start a fight outside an LA strip club, jumping up and down, attempting to goad one of the club’s patrons into throwing a punch.
June 26, 2014
LaBeouf chases a homeless man, demanding he hand over his McDonalds. A video of the incident is later released. A witness tells Page Six: “He really wanted whatever was in that bag. He had so much focus… If there were French fries in the bag, maybe he really wanted to eat them.”
LaBeouf is later arrested for causing a disturbance during a Studio 54 theatre performance of Cabaret. According to Page Six, the former Transformers star was “annoying other theatre goers by slapping random people on the behind and on the back of the head”, and had to be given a mask when he refused to stop spitting at people. But it’s not all bad news for LaBeouf: Liza Minelli’s agent, Scott Gorenstein, later sent him a DVD of Cabaret, telling the Hollywood Reporter: “I figured he may want to find out how it ends.”
LaBeouf is banned from LA restaurant The Local Peasant in Sherman Oaks – for urinating on a wall. According to TMZ, the restaurant’s manager became suspicious after the actor spent so much time outside the back, and followed him outside to catch him in the act.
February 11 – February 16, 2014
LaBeouf debuts a new performance art piece entitled “#IAMSORRY at LA’S Cohen Gallery. According to the Hollywood Reporter, visitors to the gallery are asked to choose either a whip, a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses, a pair of pliers, a bottle of Brut cologne, a bottle of Jack Daniels or a bowl of folded up notes – each bearing Twitter comments about LaBeouf. They are then led into a room where “LaBeouf sits at a small wooden table, the now-famous paper bag declaring “I am not famous anymore” placed over his head.” Occasionally, LeBeouf removes the bag from his head and silently cries.
February 10, 2014
LaBeouf attends the premiere of Nymphomaniac at the Berlin Film Festival. He wears a paper bag on his head, complete with eye-holes and the words “I am not famous anymore” on the front of the bag.
February 9, 2014
At a press conference for the Lars von Trier film Nymphomaniac, in which he stars as Jerome, LaBoeuf responds to a question about the numerous sex scenes in the film by quoting the footballer Eric Cantona: “When seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.” He then adds “thank you very much”, before walking out of the conference.
January 16, 2014
LaBeouf is filmed head-butting a man during a bar brawl at South London’s Hobgoblin pub. TMZ later release a video of the incident.
January 13, 2014
LaBeouf uses his Twitter account to announce: “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE.” 22 times.
January 10, 2014
LaBeouf announces that he is “retiring from public life”.
January 8, 2014
LaBeouf posts a photo online in which he appears to mock graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, referring to him as “Daniel Boring.”
January 4, 2014
Lena Dunham tweets her response to LaBeouf’s skywriting:
LaBeouf responds by plagiarising some of Lena Dunham’s own tweets.
December 31, 2013
LaBeouf finally admits to plagiarising writer Daniel Clowes in his short,. On New Year’s Eve, LaBeouf attempts to make amends by hiring a plane to skywrite “I am sorry Daniel Clowes” over LA.
December 28, 2013
La Beouf responds to allegations that he plagiarised Daniel Clowes’ work by tweeting a number of apparently heartfelt apologies. The tweets are soon discovered to be plagiarised versions of apologies from other public figures, including Nick Clegg:
December 16, 2013
LaBeouf releases his self-directed, supposedly self-penned short Buzzfeed breaks the news that LaBeouf’s film contains uncredited words and artwork from a 2007 comic book by the artist and writer Daniel Clowes. “I was shocked, to say the least, when I saw that he took the script and even many of the visuals from a very personal story I did six or seven years ago and passed it off as his own work,” says Clowes. LaBeouf claims to have been “inspired” by Clowes’s work. Clowes’s editor Eric Reynolds accuses LaBeouf of “shameless theft.”online.
LaBeouf tells Details Magazine that he hooked up with his married co-star Megan Fox while the pair were filming Michael Bay’s Transformers. The ill-timed revelations are said to cause serious damage to the marriage of Fox and her husband, Brian Austin Green. LaBeouf later reveals that whilst filming the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen sequel in 2009, he enjoyed an on-set romance with another co-star, Isobel Lucas, who also happened to be in a relationship at the time. Ever the gentleman, LaBeouf tells reporters that his time with Lucas “was sort of disastrous”.
February 5, 2011
LaBeouf is arrested after a fight at a bar in the Sherman Oaks district of LA, Mad Bull’s Tavern. Witnesses tell TMZ that the star became rowdy and ended up getting punched in the face. The actor is later released without charge.
LaBeouf tells reporters at the Cannes Film Festival that he thought Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in which LaBeouf played Indie’s son Mutt Williams, “dropped the ball” and let fans down. Speaking to the LA Times, the actor also revealed that the film’s star, Harrison Ford, allegedly felt the same way. When asked whether his comments might annoy the film’s director, Steven Spielberg, LaBeouf said: “he needs to hear this. I love him. I love Steven. I have a relationship with Steven that supersedes our business work.” Spielberg later released a statement saying that LaBeouf’s comments had “killed my spirits.”
July 27, 2008
LaBeouf is involved in a traffic accident in West Hollywood. Police admit that the crash was not the actor’s fault – the other driver ran a red light – but suspend LaBeouf’s license for a year, after tests reveal he was well over the legal drink-drive limit. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Wolf tells Fox News: “it was immediately apparent to officers responding on the scene that LaBeouf was intoxicated and he was subsequently placed under arrest.”
LaBeouf is arrested for trespassing after he refuses to leave a Chicago pharmacy. The charges are later dropped.
Shia LaBeouf tells Entertainment Weekly that avoiding trouble is “pretty simple when you think about it.” According to the star, his strategy is: “just don’t f— up”.
A 19 year-old LeBeouf threatens a neighbour with a knife, after the neighbour allegedly insults LeBeouf’s mother. The incident ends LeBeouf being attacked by the neighbour and six of his friends.
Born on June 11 1986, LaBeouf grows up in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
In a 2008 interview with US GQ, the star revealed how his childhood was unconventional but relatively happy: he and his family would dress up as clowns and sell hotdogs to their Latin American neighbours. After his parents divorced, LeBeouf later ended up accompanying his Dad to AA meetings, while trying to make it as a child actor, performing stand-up at local comedy clubs from the age of 10 (most of his jokes were about erections). In the same interview, LaBeouf also revealed: “I used to s— on myself until I was 12 years old. I didn’t stop until I got a job.”