The only time I've interviewed Shia LaBeouf, it was during the publicity push for the second season of "Project: Greenlight," and he was still a dewy-eyed Disney kid, freshly scrubbed and more forthcoming than he should have been. I instantly liked him, and I've rooted for him as he's carved out a place for himself in pop culture over the last half-decade or so.
Sitting down with him in Moscow for "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon," I was struck by what a different person he is in almost every way now. I still see the same innate comic timing, that same ability to open up and project, but I also see someone who has lived a lot of very hard adult life in the time between our sit-downs. LaBeouf has played a lot of young man leading roles, and we've seen him play a lot of milestones onscreen and off. This movie feels like the close of a chapter in his cinematic development, and I'm very curious to see where he goes from here.
We discussed the way he's grown up with Michael Bay right there, yelling at him and blowing up the background, and we also talked about his new co-star, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and what she brought to the dynamic that's been building for three movies now.
There are some great things on the horizon for LaBeouf. He's one of the stars of John Hilcoat's new film "The Wettest Country In The World" this Christmas, and there's talk of him starring in the film version of Joe Hill's "Horns." That's a great role for whoever ends up doing it, and if it's LaBeouf, it could be one of the best things he's been given. At this point, his career depends on material. He's got the chops… it's time to turn him loose with strong scripts so we can see what he's really capable of as an actor.
"Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" opens tomorrow in theaters everywhere.
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