Shia LaBeouf Slams Steven Spielberg, Talks Almost Nabbing 'Suicide Squad' Role & Getting Two Missy Elliott Tat
By Antoinette Bueno
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Shia LaBeouf is getting extremely candid about both his career and his headline-making personal life.
The controversial actor opens up about everything from getting sober to working his way back into the good graces of Hollywood -- after multiple arrests and displaying some erratic behavior in the last five years -- in a revealing new interview. LaBeouf, 30, also has no problem dishing about his experience with legendary directors, namely, his disappointment working with Steven Spielberg.
"I grew up with this idea, if you got to Spielberg, that's where it is," LaBeouf tells Variety, having worked with the director on multiple projects, including Disturbia, Transformers, Eagle Eye, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. "You get there, and you realize you're not meeting the Spielberg you dream of. You're meeting a different Spielberg, who is in a different stage in his career. He's less a director than he is a f**king company."
LaBeouf doubles down on his past criticism on the ill-received Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Interestingly enough, he has nothing but praise for Transformers director Michael Bay, whom he calls an "artist."
"I don't like the movies that I made with Spielberg," LaBeouf says bluntly. "The only movie that I liked that we made together was the Transformers one [which Spielberg produced]. I prepped for a year and a half on [2008's Indiana Jones film]. And then the movie comes out, and it's your fault. That sh*t hurt bad."
Criticism about LaBeouf's blockbuster sequels, including 2010's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, eventually got to him.
"I didn't like going in public, because I had to face my failures constantly," he says about not being proud of his own films.
LaBeouf now says he hasn't had a drink in almost a year, and has been to AA meetings, though he doesn't call himself an addict.
"I got a Napoleonic complex," he says about his alcohol issues, acknowledging that part of his heavy drinking was "posturing." "I start drinking and I feel smaller than I am, and I get louder than I should. It's just not for me, dude."
"You don't touch it," he now says. "Alcohol or any of that sh*t will send you haywire. I can't f**k with none of it. I’ve got to keep my head low."
LaBeouf's past behavior has definitely cost him in Hollywood. The former Disney star says he was approached by Suicide Squad director David Ayer for the role that eventually went to Scott Eastwood, but Warner Bros. vetoed his casting.
"The character was different initially," LaBeouf says. "Then Will [Smith] came in, and the script changed a bit. That character and Tom [Hardy's] character [later played by Joel Kinnaman] got written down to build Will up."
"I don't think Warner Bros. wanted me," he adds. "I went in to meet, and they were like, 'Nah, you're crazy. You're a good actor, but not this one.' It was a big investment for them."
Still, LaBeouf acknowledges the "double standard" when it comes to male and female actors' personal lives affecting their professional ones. "It's a double standard, for sure," he says. "Women require grace for longevity. I don't think men require grace. You can be Mickey Rourke."
LaBeouf acknowledges his past mistakes -- including plagiarizing Daniel Clowes' comicJustin M. Damiano, which he now calls "straight theft" on his part -- and also regrets once describing himself as a method actor.
"The word is getting embarrassing," he says. "You don't hear about female method actors. The whole thing has turned into weird, false masculinity sh*t."
That being said, LaBeouf still appears to take things to the extreme for his roles. The actor got 12 tattoos for his new part in American Honey, in which he plays the leader of a gang of nomad thieves on a cross-country road trip. Both of his knees now feature matching portraits of Missy Elliott.
"I don't love Missy Elliott like I wanna get two Missy Elliott tattoos," LaBeouf says. "But you're in a tattoo parlor, and [shrugs shoulders] peer pressure."
These days, LaBeouf says he is "happy working" and building himself up again.
"I’m learning how to distill my 'crazy' into something manageable, that I can shape and deliver on the day," he says.