Two days have passed and yet the subject of Shia LaBeouf has not been able to get out of my brain. The actor has been making headlines left and right lately for his strange antics during public appearances you've more than likely heard about by now. His mental health has come into question and yet nobody can stop talking about it. It is intentionally controversial and offbeat and that is what makes it fascinating. After writing the first article on Shia LaBeouf, I expected to leave things as is, but it was Screen Junkie's video of confronting LaBeouf at his #IAMSORRY art gallery that really made the wheels start turning in this barely functioning noodle of mine.
Many are viewing this opportunity as a way to meet a movie star; see him face to face, express their admiration or hatred for his work while being in the same room with him, and or taking a picture to prove that they did in fact sort of meet a celebrity. In case you haven't heard, #IAMSORRY allows visitors to enter a small building one at a time where they're lead to a room with specific items on a table (a whip, a Transformers toy, a wrench, some candy, a Daniel Clowes novel, and a bowl full of the hatred spewing tweets LaBeouf received for plagiarizing Clowes with his short film HowardCantour.com among various other items. You then go into another room where LaBeouf sits with the same outfit he wore in Berlin (tuxedo clad with the "I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE" paper bag on his head). LaBeouf does not speak and usually doesn't even move an inch, but if you're able to see his face he does appear to have been crying. Once you get the obvious "Transformers" and "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" jokes out of the way (which is fine because we've all made them), you begin to realize that there might be more to this than you thought.
Nobody is saying what LaBeouf is sorry for, but it seems clear if you think outside the box. LaBeouf is allowing you to pick your poison, whether it's the projects he's chosen to be a part of throughout his career or what he's tried to accomplish as an artist and director, he is giving each and every one of us the opportunity to sit at the same table with him to pour our hearts out. LaBeouf wants to be treated as a scapegoat. That seems to be the purpose of this exercise. He isn't particularly sorry for any one specific thing. He's apologizing for everything; the plagiarism, the negative backlash, the movies people don't like, the behavior that gets him publicity, and so on.
The crying seems to illustrate how everything has affected him, but maybe it's also because no one seems to understand what it is he's trying to achieve. It makes you wonder if anyone has tried to put an artistic spin on what Shia LaBeouf is doing. Has anyone said they respect what he's trying to do or that they accept his apology? Living in Texas, it isn't as if this sort of thing is easily accessible to me. But the people who are standing in line for multiple hours should consider trying something different rather than leaving quickly because it's too weird or taking that selfie next to such a "cutie" and drying his tears with that box of kleenex they brought.
I'm not trying to say my theory is correct or that it's the only explanation. This is only speculation after all, but it does seem like people are only trashing LaBeouf's artistic ventures. Personally, I wanted to take a different approach and express that I admire the desire to execute something unique. "Unique" seems like the wrong way to describe it since LaBeouf seems to purposely be lifting direct quotes and ideas from other people, but it's fascinating nevertheless. Even if you think it's the dumbest thing in the world, it's helped intrigue the masses as a mountain of interest now surrounds "Nymphomaniac," "Fury," "Rock the Kasbah," and any other project Shia LaBeouf decides to be a part of in the near future.
Sources: thedailybeast.com, entertainment.time.com, leviathyn.com, eonline.com, defamer.gawker.com, bohomoth.com, mashable.com