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Shia LaBeouf By: John Turturro

Shia LaBeouf By: John Turturro

Shia on changing times: “Here’s the thing: I don’t know if the youth today are ready for that. You look at the culture right now, and what’s the most popular music? It’s hip-hop. And what drives hip-hop is materialism-who’s got the nicest rims, the cars, the chains. At places like Berkeley, when all that stuff was happening in the ’60s, people were willing to give everything up for change because they knew that something was happening. But today, I can’t think of a situation where a group of college kids would be unselfish enough to do that. A lot of young people just don’t seem to feel like they’re a part of things. It’s tough when it comes to work, because as an entertainer, your job is to take people away from their lives. You know, the two movies I have coming out, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Bobby, I did for not much money because I wanted to challenge myself and also be conscious of the work I’m doing in a bigger sense. But I also need to find a way to support myself without compromising.”

Interview Magazine October 2006 features Shia LeBeouf — With an often absent Vitenam vet father and a mother who worked endless hours just to keep her head above water, he imagined acting as a way to get the material things that his family couldn’t afford. But it has wound up bringing him much, much more. Full article after the jump!


Shia LaBeouf By: John Turturro

Raised in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles, Shia LaBeouf got his start doing stand-up routines in local coffee shops as a preteen, and has appeared since in a mixed bag of films both big and small, such as the kid-oriented Holes (2003) and last year’s thriller Constantine. But two new movies out this fall are about to take LaBeouf into another realm entirely: A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, writer-director Dito Montiel’s Sundance drama about the last summer he spent in the rough-and-tumble Astoria, Queens, neighborhood where he grew up; and Bobby, Emilio Estevez’s new movie about the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Currently, the 20-year-old actor is winding down production on Michael Bay’s new action epic, Transformers, due next summer. He spoke with his Transformers co-star, John Turturro.

JOHN TURTURRO :: In A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, you play a working-class kid from Queens. Did you relate at all to your character’s background?

SHIA LABEOUF :: Well, I grew up in Echo Park, so it wasn’t quite as tough as Astoria in the 1980s. But I related to the mentality. My character, Dito, is looking at all the people around him and the different routes they’re taking in life, and he’s trying to decide which one is the best for him. I also related to the father-son aspect. Dito’s father was the heavy hand in his family, and my father was like that, too.

JT :: What did your dad do?

SL :: My dad did a lot of things. He was a clown. He sold snow cones. He did stand-up comedy. He even went on tour with the Doobie Brothers as their opening act. He was a Vietnam vet, an artist, an explorer of life-just an adventurer.

JT :: How did you get into acting?

SL :: Initially, it was greed. At one point, my dad left the house and my mom and I were broke. My mom worked so hard. She did some design work and sold fabric for a living. I used to surf, and one day I met this kid who was on the TV show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I would always look at him and think, Man, this kid has got a sick surfboard and he shows up in a nice Volvo and his mother’s got jewelry. I wanted those amazing things for me and my family-but I knew nothing about the art form. So this Dr. Quinn kid told me. that the only way into acting was through modeling. Well, I knew that wasn’t going to happen because I looked like a young Garry Shandling. [Turturro laughs] So I decided that the only way that I could find any success was through stand-up comedy. I told my mom what I wanted to do and went out and got an agent. After working for a couple of years, I got cast on this show on the Disney Channel, Even Stevens, and everything started from there.

JT :: Did you enjoy working on the show?

SL :: I was so in love with what I was doing. When I got the show, I needed to have a parent on set, and my mom couldn’t do it because she was working at her job. My dad was recovering in a VA hospital at the time-he was a drug addict. So when he got out, we paid him to come on set and be with me.

JT :: Your father was working for you?

SL :: Which was a strange situation, but we both understood it. That was the beginning of our entire relationship. That show gave me a father and a career and a life.

JT :: So, the times–are they a-changin’?

SL :: Here’s the thing: I don’t know if the youth today are ready for that. You look at the culture right now, and what’s the most popular music? It’s hip-hop. And what drives hip-hop is materialism-who’s got the nicest rims, the cars, the chains. At places like Berkeley, when all that stuff was happening in the ’60s, people were willing to give everything up for change because they knew that something was happening. But today, I can’t think of a situation where a group of college kids would be unselfish enough to do that. A lot of young people just don’t seem to feel like they’re a part of things. It’s tough when it comes to work, because as an entertainer, your job is to take people away from their lives. You know, the two movies I have coming out, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Bobby, I did for not much money because I wanted to challenge myself and also be conscious of the work I’m doing in a bigger sense. But I also need to find a way to support myself without compromising.

JT :: Speaking of which, we should probably talk about Transformers. [both laugh] I can’t really think too much about it, so let’s talk about Michael Bay’s love life, instead.

SL :: [laughs] You know, he’s the only director I’ve ever known who has head shots of himself.

JT :: Well, he’s in very good shape. And he likes to keep moving around, doesn’t he?

SL :: Oh, my God, he does. But he gives us a lot of freedom, which is great. And he’s got immaculate cheekbones.

John Turturro has a full slate of projects on the horizon, including The Good Shepherd, directed by Robert De Niro; Romance & Cigarettes, which he wrote and directed; and the upcoming untitled Noah Baumbach film with Nicole Kidman.

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