James Franco weighed in through a New York Times opinion column on Shia LaBeouf’s
recent odd behavior, taking what he called an “empathetic view of his conduct.”
Franco listed several of the instances of odd behavior that have gotten LaBeouf a lot of media attention in recent months, including the accusation that he plagiarized his short film “Howard Cantour.com” and wearing a paper bag saying “I am not famous anymore” to a red carpet event.
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Franco’s sympathy for LaBeouf’s actions seems to stem from the challenge of being an actor in a public profession.
“This behavior could be a sign of many things, from a nervous breakdown to mere youthful recklessness,” Franco wrote. “For Mr. LaBeouf’s sake I hope it is nothing serious. Indeed I hope — and, yes, I know that this idea has pretentious or just plain ridiculous overtones — that his actions are intended as a piece of performance art, one in which a young man in a very public profession tries to reclaim his public persona.”
Franco reminded readers that as far back as the iconic Marlon Brando, actors have “lashed out” at their profession and public images. Brando turned down a 1973 Oscar for best actor and rebelled in other ways.
Franco looked to his own life for examples of that rebellious attitude, citing the fact that he joined “General Hospital,” a soap opera, at the same time as he made movies that would garner Oscar nominations. “My decision was in part an effort to jar expectations of what a film actor does and to undermine the tacit — or not so tacit — hierarchy of entertainment,” he wrote.
Franco’s article inspired interesting comments, including a criticism that the Times was taking on the role of People magazine by writing about such issues. Here's what Twitter had to say:
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