In recent years, Shia LaBeouf has arguably become better known for his bizarre performance art and spawning a thousand memes in the process rather than his acting ability. After starring in a string of box office hits early in his career like I, Robot, Constantine, Disturbia, Eagle Eye, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Michael Bay’s Transformers trilogy, the young actor seemed destined for movie stardom and a permanent residency towards the top of the Hollywood A-list.
However, LaBeouf eventually turned his back on big budget studio movies entirely after growing disillusioned with both the process and the resulting fame, and over the last decade he’s focused mostly on smaller projects that let his performance do the talking, instead of being surrounded by green screens and CGI.
While he may have continued finding himself in the headlines, albeit usually for all the wrong reasons, the 33 year-old has nonetheless built up a diverse and eclectic filmography in recent years with critically-acclaimed turns in Fury, American Honey, Borg vs. McEnroe, The Peanut Butter Falcon and the semi-autobiographical Honey Boy that also marked his first big screen writing credit.
There’s no denying that LaBeouf is one of the most interesting actors working today, but Peanut Butter Falcon co-star Dakota Johnson had even higher praise, making the bold claim in a recent interview that he might just be the best of his entire generation.
“I think Shia might be the greatest actor of my generation, which I wouldn’t say to his face.”
That’s a bold claim to be making about any actor, least of all one who seemingly has no interest whatsoever in being praised by his peers and showered in accolades, but if Shia LaBeouf continues to give the kind of performances that have come to define his recent renaissance, then whether he likes it or not he’ll definitely be a part of the conversation.