Launching his acting career at an early age, Hollywood star Shia LaBeouf is known for an unwavering dedication to his work and for delivering consistent, quality performances. He can be seen in both compelling indie movies and blockbuster franchises, such as Transformers and Indiana Jones, always bringing intensity and heart to his roles. To coincide with the release of his acclaimed new turn in the powerful and surprising war thriller Man Down, we take a look at the young actor’s best performances to date.
A Guide To Recognising Your Saints (2006)
One of LaBeouf’s early roles saw him play a wild and reckless young teen, with Robert Downey Jr. playing the adult counterpart, in Dito Montiel’s adaptation of his own memoir. The coming-of-age story reminisces about Montiel’s struggles during his early years in the New York borough of Queens. During flashbacks in the film LaBeouf and Channing Tatum portray childhood friends. The two actors only had one day to get to know each other before filming started and opted to go out drinking in New York. The two remain good friends to this day.
As LaBeouf’s breakthrough continued he was cast in the role of Kale, a high school student placed under house arrest for assaulting his teacher. In preparation for the role LaBeouf spoke to several house arrest detainees about their experiences. This inspired the idea for a scene where his character builds a tower out of Twinkies. As Kale’s boredom begins to creep in he spies upon his neighbours and begins to suspect that one of them is a serial killer. Executive Producer Steven Spielberg recommended LaBeouf for the Disturbia role based on his performance in Holes (2003). LaBeouf’s subsequent work in the thriller convinced Spielberg he could handle action films which led to him being cast in Transformers (2007) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
One of LaBeouf’s more grizzled performances came in John Hillcoat’s 2012 gangster thriller Lawless. Starring alongside Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman, LaBeouf’s character Jack is the youngest of three brothers who longs for the approval and respect of his siblings. Set in depression-era Virginia, the moonshine-bootlegging brothers are challenged by both the town’s new deputy and the rival businesses angling for a cut of the profits. To aid authenticity, LaBeouf gained 40 pounds in order to give himself a more physically imposing appearance. On trying moonshine alcohol at the time, the actor said, “It’s rough, man, really rough. Rough in that it’s the quickest drunk you’ve ever experienced — 10 seconds and you’re gone.”
Shia LaBeouf’s dedication to his work was again shown during the shoot of David Ayer’s acclaimed war drama, Fury. In preparation for his role, LaBeouf reportedly pulled out his own tooth, refused to shower throughout filming and inflicted real cuts on his face every time it was needed. Fury follows a veteran tank crew as lead by Brad Pitt’s Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier as they make their way through World War II Germany. While becoming immersed in his character, LaBeouf and his co-stars bonded heavily during the shoot and spent a great deal of time becoming a real unit.
Man Down (2017)
LaBeouf’s latest role sees him reunite with director Dito Montiel and actor Gary Oldman, following their work on A Guide To Recognising Your Saints (2006) and Lawless (2012), respectively. Man Down casts LaBeouf as a U.S Marine returning from Afghanistan only to discover that the place he considers home is no better than the battlefields he fought on during the war. With the help of his best friend, he desperately searches for his missing wife and son, finally coming across a man with important information about his family. Co-starring Kate Mara (The Martian) and Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad), LaBeouf’s hard-hitting, emotional performance has been praised as one of the best of his career.
Signature Entertainment presents Man Down at Cinemas and on Digital from 31st March, 2017