It's been a few days since Shia LaBeouf's latest performance art stunt, #ALLMYMOVIES, came to an end. The actor started his journey one week ago today, when he quietly took a seat in a dark theater at the Angelika and began watching all of his movies in reverse chronological order. The public was invited to attend, for free, and everyone else could tune into a livestream, which focused on LaBeouf's face.
I have never watched one thing Shia LaBeouf has acted in (though I may have seen glimpses of Transformers and this episode of Caroline in the City, I can't remember). This hasn't been on purpose, it just hasn't happened. I have also never been interested in performance art. Or LaBeouf as a person who exists. But for some reason, this exercise in narcissism and humility really drew me in. What did watching his career flash before his eyes mean? What did us watching him react to his career flashing before his eyes mean?
LaBeouf has now given one interview, to his friends at NewHive who streamed the event, where he answers some of these questions. I could lazily bullet point this, pulling quotes out to make this famous person seem like a fool ("Sincerity is the new punk rock," would be one). Then you could tweet your favorite quote, and we could all circulate these out of context Shia-isms and point and laugh. But for some reason I feel compelled to give LaBeouf some respect—he didn't once make me cringe or sigh or roll our eyes during this project. And throughout this interview he sincerely discusses in a very self-aware way many of things he's trying to work out—namely the need to feel a connection with the human race, while living in a purgatory somewhere between the "elitist" movie world and a dark corner.
So, I'll just present you with the beginning of the interview, and recommend you read the rest.
I can’t articulate how big this was. I don’t even know yet. All I know is I feel the weight of it. I’m walking through the streets and I’m smiling, like a cartoon character... I felt extraordinary support... Once you press play on your life and you open up and there’s that vulnerability and not only are people getting the artistic side of you but they’re getting the human side of you, watching that, you’ve shared everything. And the fact that you can walk out of there and people are still nodding at you and giving you a thumb’s up... it’s something else. I really don’t even know what it is yet, because I haven’t sat on it or done any writing or thought about it at all. I just know if I can explain a feeling, I feel lighter today. I feel love today.
It’s as simple as this: I used to order my coffee and when they’d say, "Hey what’s your name?" I’d say James, because I didn’t want them to say my name. I would never claim my name. And today it’s just something different, it’s as simple as that. And it’s not through thought it’s just “that’s me” and I’m cool with that. It’s the first time really in my life, before the other shows, because all of the other shows never changed my coffee order name. This shit changed my coffee order name, which in turn, changed my sense of self.
You can read the rest here, but in case you don't click through, know you are missing some real human moments you may find relatable! "It’s just lonely," LaBeouf says, "All I really want to do is be a part of... I feel distance... exiled from life."