Let's hope Shia LaBeouf's bizarre behaviour is an act

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Liz Braun, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:48 PM ET

“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."

French soccer player Eric Cantona... and Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf has been tweeting "I am not famous anymore" for some time. A few days ago in Berlin, he abruptly left a press conference for the new Lars von Trier movie, Nymphomaniac, and later walked the red carpet with a brown paper bag over his head. Written on the bag: "I am not famous anymore."

There seem to be three choices with LaBeouf's recent behaviour:

1) He's an attention-seeking little wanker.

2) He's having mental health issues.

3) He's engaged in a clever game of messing with the media and with notions of celebrity a la Joaquin Phoenix.

We're hoping for choice #3.

LaBeouf is one of the stars of Nymphomaniac, Lars von Trier's new movie about a woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) recounting her colourful sexual history. The movie has attracted a lot of attention ever since it was first announced, and particularly over rumours that all the sex scenes in the film would be real rather than simulated. (This is a Penrose stairs proposition, because the point of film is to make you believe you're seeing reality. In other words, real sex or not, what's the diff if you believe? But we digress.)

The press conference LaBeouf walked out of would likely have been similar to most film festival press conferences, which is to say, it was probably a very large waste of time. Some nebulous question about the sex scenes was lobbed at the actors. LaBeouf's answer, if he was equating the press to seagulls, is actually very funny. The fact that it's a purloined quote, and a stolen performance — including the pause and the drink of water — from a past press conference featuring Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, is even funnier, given the recent brouhaha over the fact that LaBeouf plagiarized work from cartoonist Daniel Clowes. (And then apologized using plagiarized apologies. Is LaBeouf that clever? Is his reference to a drunken stupor in one of those apologies a wink at our mayor? Fun to speculate …)

Anyway, the actor has stated that he is retired from public life because of attacks on his artistic integrity.

In the past, LaBeouf has engaged in more than his fair share of weird behaviour. He's been in bar fights, had twitter wars with people such as Alec Baldwin (after LaBeouf left the Broadway play Orphans) and Lena Dunham, made controversial kiss-and-tell comments about his relationship with Megan Fox while they were filming Transformers, slammed Steven Spielberg and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull, and has generally behaved in a way that causes people to question his mental health.

He does tend to put his foot in his mouth. The actor has talked about using booze and drugs for his movie roles and chatted in an interview about sending a picture of his penis to director von Trier in the process of being cast in Nymphomaniac. So yes, he's often viewed as Choice #1: an attention-seeking little wanker.

Concerned fans would pick door #2: serious mental health issues.

But his upcoming work suggests Choice #3 is the most likely — it's all calculated. He's starring in Fury later this year with Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman. Fury is the highly-anticipated new film from writer/director David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch), and its November release date suggests it has Oscar ambitions.

And he's in Rock the Kasbah with Bill Murray, Zooey Deschanel, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson and Danny McBride. In Berlin, Murray joked that LaBeouf's problem was his handle: "He's got a funny name … It's like A Boy Named Sue… He probably got beat up a lot."

We wouldn't speculate what might be going on with Shia LaBeouf. We just hope it's all some clever, anti-celebrity performance art. And that it stops soon.

Twitter: @LizBraunSun

Liz.braun@sunmedia.ca

 


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