Shia LaBeoufIt doesn’t seem like that long ago when Shia LaBeouf was on a fast track to be the next big male movie star. After emerging from the Disney Channel series Even Stevens to become a likeable screen presence on the Project Greenlight TV reality series about the making of the pic The Battle Of Shaker Heights, Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg chose LaBeouf to star in the original Transformers films. He did Disturbia, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street sequel and Spielberg made him heir apparent in the Indiana Jones franchise. I’d read his early interviews in Playboy and other outlets and while LaBeouf was refreshingly honest, you could see he had some rough edges, anger and maybe a self-destructive streak. I always give slack for any child star trying to transition to adulthood, because the landscape is littered with casualties. But LaBeouf’s latest episodes, coupled with an array of arrests over the past few years, seem real cause for concern. Today’s headlines have him bragging about sending a photo of his private parts to Lars von Trier that got him a role in the upcoming porn pic Nymphomaniac, and LaBeouf last night showed misplaced defiance in his ongoing spat with Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes after the actor was accused of plagiarizing Clowes’ work in his short film Howardcantour.com. Last night, LaBeouf ran a legal letter from Clowes’ lawyer on his Twitter account (it seems to have been taken down), responding to the actor’s previous Tweet threatening to rip Clowes off once again in another project. You look at the landscape of can’t miss stars, from Jan Michael Vincent to Mickey Rourke to Lindsay Lohan on down, and LaBeouf ought to be careful while there is still time to turn things around. It wasn’t that long ago that Lohan was the brightest young star in town making $7.5 million a film, before a reputation for unreliability made filmmakers wary of hiring her. It would be a shame to see this happen to LaBeouf, who should realize he is entitled to make mistakes like hewing too close to a work that inspired him. Those mistakes are not fatal, but owning them and learning from them is how you become a man.  Man up, Shia, and maybe consider getting off Twitter or at least walking away from the computer for a spell, then returning to re-read what you have written. Before hitting “send,” consider not only the career implications but also the fact that it’s impossible in this Clowes drama to paint you as anything other than the bad guy here. Here are the Twitter posts:

 

 

Borjatdl
8 months
I loved you article Mike, and I share you pow in almost every point. I also think...
St
8 months
Well you know when site as much powerful and respected as Deadline calls Shia LaBeouf idiot and...
Steve Rogers
8 months
Who gives a shit ? Much more important current events to ponder on like "Indefinite Detention "