I’ll say it: ten years ago, even five years ago, I thought Shia LaBeouf was really sexy. Is he the most typical “heartthrob” type? No, of course not. But he had that weird x-factor that makes a man sexy, at least to me. Something about his eyes and the way he always sold whatever romantic storyline he played. Then there were the wilderness years, when he abused alcohol and drugs and he was, at times, a violent, abusive mess (ETA: much of what we know of Shia’s abuse and violence came from his own admissions over the years, and I’m not condoning it at all). Apparently, Shia is clean and sober these days and he’s rebooting his career with Honey Boy, a film he wrote and stars in, based entirely on his childhood and his relationship with his father (Shia plays his father). He wrote it in rehab. It’s getting good reviews and who knows, maybe it will be an awards-season contender.
To promote the film, Shia did a Variety Actor-on-Actor feature with Kristen Stewart. They’re close in age (he’s 33, she’s 29), close in background (child stars who transitioned to adult actors) and they’ve both dealt with the fame machine. They have similar nervous-sort of vibes too. The way she treats him is so… gentle. It’s almost feels like a therapy session at one point. But I have to say, seeing him clean and with some weight and hearing his voice and seeing how he looks at Kristen… the old feelings came back. Shia has brought sexy back. Some highlights:
On the chips on their shoulders about feeling uneducated:
LaBeouf: I used to walk around with a pen and a pad, almost litigious, like: “Hey, what’s your name? Oh, cool.” Then I’d write it in a little notepad.
Stewart: Is it because you want people to like you?
LaBeouf: I wanted to seem studious, because I didn’t go to school and I didn’t learn how to do this acting thing.
Stewart: I have this chip right here too.
LaBeouf: What does it do to you?
Stewart: I read a lot. I’m always like, “I didn’t go to school, but …”
LaBeouf: If you get around a guy like [Anthony] Mackie [a co-star of “Seberg”] who’s gone to school, he’s got technique. Those people make me very scared.
LaBeouf: I feel judged, like I’m an outsider. If my knitting needle breaks, I don’t have a f–king knitting needle. Guys like that, their knitting needle breaks, and they’re, like, “Let me go in the kitchen and I’ll whip something together and I’ll come back and I’ll knit this sock for you.”
On their preferred methods of working on a film set:
LaBeouf: You stay in [character, for ‘Seberg’]?
Stewart: No. I’m hugely relieved every time something is done, and I just run away from set. Time management is such a huge thing with the job. Just the anxiety of not being in control of time is really maddening for me. I can’t sustain stuff, because I just waste it. If I expend something, if something trickles out the wrong time, I am despondently unhappy because I’m, like, “Well, that was just for nothing.”
LaBeouf: Yeah. I know what you’re talking about.
Stewart: I have dreams about it. That’s my work anxiety dream. That all the timing is wrong, or they’re not rolling.
LaBeouf: You shot on film or digital? Because there is a huge difference in time management.
Stewart: We shot on film.
LaBeouf: Ouch. I can’t stand working on film anymore, because digital they just leave it going.
On happiness off the set:
LaBeouf: I think definitely the most intimate moments of my life happened on set.
Stewart: It sounds really f–ked up, but it’s not at all. It’s beautiful.
LaBeouf: I think I’m deeply dissatisfied with life.
Stewart: But this is your life.
LaBeouf: Exactly. This is where things get tricky for me. It isn’t my whole life. I have to get OK with that. It’s usually where things go awry for me is when I’m not on a set. Life gets hard.
Stewart: Do you do anything else?
LaBeouf: This is what I’m trying to develop, trying to grow.
Stewart: Take a pottery class.
LaBeouf: Maybe I will. I won’t like pottery in life. But I will love pottery on set. I don’t like ice cream in life. But if you give me ice cream on a set, I f–king love ice cream. I think that’s what this does for me. It makes me love things. This job feels like the conduit for love for me. I hold it that sacred.
Stewart: I feel you.
See what I mean about how gentle she is with him? I feel like if Kristen had to talk to someone else, she would have teased him or really pressed him on some things. But instead she was just constantly reinforcing Shia, letting him know that she felt all those things too. It was sweet. And now I kind of want to see them do a romance together. Come on, that would be GOOD.