The actor dissects the actor in an empathetic NY Times piece.
James Franco has penned an article for the NY Times opinion pages, in which he dissects the recently questionable behaviour of his fellow actor, Shia LaBeouf. From the onset, it's unclear whether Franco is gearing up to admonish or encourage his industry fellow as the 127 Hours star becomes another voice adding his two cents to the Shia debate.
If We Were In The Same Profession As Shia, We'd Be Doing This Face At His Antics Too.
As it turns out, James is here to empathise with the Transformers actor and try to shed a little experiential light on the situation that has had the media bellowing "HE CRAZY" in response to such antics as plagiarism, weird tweets, wearing a paper bag on his head, holding an art exhibition with himself as the main artefact and apologising profusely at every turn. "For Mr. LaBeouf's sake I hope it is nothing serious," writes Franco; us too.
"Though the wisdom of some of his actions may seem questionable, as an actor and artist I'm inclined to take an empathetic view of his conduct," reasons the 35 year-old actor who details the "addictive" "call-and-response" nature of the media and how provoking gossip can be an addictive thing. Is he calling troll though?
Due To Some Strange Antics, Shia LaBeouf Has Had A Rough Time In The Media Recently.
"Because film actors typically experience fame in greater measure, our personas can feel at the mercy of forces far beyond our control," adds Franco sagely, giving the impression that now he has emerged from the chrysalis of insecurity that is a human being's twenties, he can look down with shrewdness and reason upon LaBeouf's seemingly inexplicable antics.
After plagiarising graphic artist Daniel Clowe's work, which became Shia's short film, HowardCantour.com, the actor felt the fall-out and social media and countered the outrage by explaining that it was performance art to explore "plagiarism in the digital age" which "freed [his] unconscious."
Other actors have reacted by poking fun at the former Even Stevens teen star, including comedian Jerry O'connell who teamed up with Funny or Die to set up a rival exhibition next door to Shia's called "#IAMSORRYTOO," parodying the actor's "IAMSORRY" motif that has accompanied most of his actions of late.
Franco Empathises With His Fellow Actor, But Warns He Shoudln't Sacrifice Himself Too Much.
It's refreshing then and not patronising, that James Franco has stepped into the ring, not to reason with LaBeouf or belittle his actions, but to reason with the media and point out that it's falling into its own trap. "Participating in this call and response is a kind of critique, a way to show up the media by allowing their oversize responses to essentially trivial actions to reveal the emptiness of their raison d'être," he writes, adding "Believe me, this game of peek-a-boo can be very addictive."
Franco looks back to Marlon Brando's time for examples of actors "lashing out against their profession and its grip on their public images [...] against an industry that practically forces an actor to identify with his persona while at the same time repeatedly wresting it from him."
LaBeouf's Paper Bag Appearance At The 'Nymphomaniac' Premiere.
"Often an actor's need to tear down the public creation that constrains him occurs during the transition from young man to adult," says Franco, before giving his final thoughts and a warning: "I think Mr. LaBeouf's project, if it is a project, is a worthy one. I just hope that he is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist."