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Shia LaBeouf’s star transformation
He may have one of the most mispronounced names in Hollywood, but there’s no doubt that Shia LaBeouf is one its biggest rising stars.
At just 23, he already has a CV packed with youthful TV work and films including Disturbia, Transformers and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in which he plays the eponymous archaeologist’s son.
Later this year, LaBeouf starts shooting leading roles in John Grisham’s The Associate and in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street sequel, Money Never Sleeps.
He also revealed to the BBC, this week, that work is underway on a new Indiana Jones movie.
“Steven [Spielberg] just said he cracked the story on it before I left and I think they’re gearing that up,” he said.
Now he’s back on the big screen in the sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Here, LaBeouf discusses giant robots, the perils of working on a Michael Bay blockbuster, and how Megan Fox is “as alien as the aliens”.
What is different about the character of Sam in this new Transformers film?
He’s a bit more of a leader. He’s just saved the world – he’s dealing with the loss of sanity, he’s getting these insane bits of information…he’s trying to carve out his own little world, get away from the introspection and guidance of the parents.
Don’t you feel a bit upstaged by all these robots?
Not in a bad way. There’s moments when you don’t want people looking at you because you know what you’re saying feels weird. They’re great co-stars. They’re unbelievably amazing to watch, it’s the same with Megan – she’s as alien as the aliens. She’s phenomenal looking. It’s easy for me, I just live in the shadows.
Is it a bit of a distraction working with someone as beautiful as Megan Fox?
It’s the best kind of distraction – it’s great for troop morale. You got 50 men together for six or seven months, so it’s great to have Megan Fox around.
It’s not an easy situation for her to get those lascivious looks all the time. You have to be a very strong-willed person to be able to deal with it – which she is. She’s like one of the dudes, if you can imagine that.
Is working on a Michael Bay film as noisy and exhausting as it looks?
Far worse! Nobody comes out of the theatre with injuries. These movies are hard to make, they are aggressive, they’re a punch to the ribs. We’re selling an anxiety attack, so in order to make that you’ve got to live it.
You filmed around the pyramids in Egypt and at Petra in Jordan – what’s it like using some of the most famous places on Earth as your private playground?
They just open it up and let us do whatever we want – it’s fascinating. You almost can’t believe that they’re allowing it.
But we’re respectful of the spots that were at… if other people want to film at the pyramids they’ll look back at our movie and ask ‘were they respectful to us?’
The first film made more than $700m (£428m) – the sequel is a classic summer blockbuster. Is a movie like this just about making lots of money?
I would imagine the studio’s feeling is that – these movies support the studio system and make it so they can survive. They just went through financial calamity.
I know that Mike [director Michael Bay] isn’t interested in it in that way. He just wants to blow people’s minds. The primary goal in making movies like this, is to introduce people to magic tricks.
And I certainly don’t show up every day thinking about pay cheques. I’m financially well off compared to where I came from. I was good after the first movie – I didn’t show up again to get paid.
How do you unwind between movies?
I watch movies! I hang out at my house. I do normal mundane things. I like skeet [clay pigeon] shooting, I like to ride my motorcycle, I’ve got a coin collection – and I’m getting into stocks.
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