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Cannes 2010: Shia LaBeouf: We botched the last Indiana Jones

May 15, 2010 |  3:48 pm

The last time Shia LaBeouf came to Cannes, in 2008, it was to promote "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," the revival of the swashbuckling adventure franchise that went on to earn a whopping $787 million around the world. LaBeouf is back on the Croisette this weekend to flog "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," another revival of a classic from several decades ago. But he's not willing to forget about what he says were rampant problems with Indy 4 -- and he doesn't expect fans to, either.

"I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished," LaBeouf said, explaining that this upped the ante for him before he began shooting the "Wall Street" sequel. "If I was going to do it twice, my career was over. So this was fight-or-flight for me."

Meeting with reporters Saturday on a terrace at the Hotel du Cap, he had some strong, confessional words about his acting in the film, which he said he felt didn't convince anyone that he was the action hero the movie claimed him to be. "You get to monkey-swinging and things like that and you can blame it on the writer and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg, who directed]. But the actor's job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn't do it. So that's my fault. Simple."

LaBeouf said that he could have kept quiet, especially given the movie's blockbuster status, but didn't

think the film had fooled anyone. "I think the audience is pretty intelligent. I think they know when you've made ... . And I think if you don't acknowledge it, then why do they trust you the next time you're promoting a movie." LaBeouf went on to say he wasn't the only star on the film who felt that way. "We [Harrison Ford and LaBeouf] had major discussions. He wasn't happy with it either. Look, the movie could have been updated. There was a reason it wasn't universally accepted."

LaBeouf added, "We need to be able to satiate the appetite," he said. "I think we just misinterpreted what we were trying to satiate."

Asked whether this was difficult to say, given his deep relationship with Spielberg, LaBeouf continued with the directness.

"I'll probably get a call. But he needs to hear this. I love him. I love Steven. I have a relationship with Steven that supersedes our business work. And believe me, I talk to him often enough to know that I'm not out of line. And I would never disrespect the man. I think he's a genius, and he's given me my whole life. He's done so much great work that there's no need for him to feel vulnerable about one film. But when you drop the ball you drop the ball."

Interviewing LaBeouf is a unique experience. It's nearly impossible not to like the 23-year-old, who carries an honesty and a winning sincerity that endears him to you despite, or because of, his mispronunciation of words such as "schoolastic" and "hyperboil" (as though the word for exaggeration connotes a manic skin blemish). He's refreshingly honest, apparently engaged with subjects far beyond movies and willing to throw out whatever playbook his publicists no doubt beg him to use.

He's also relentlessly intense and unfailingly earnest, taking every question hyper-seriously. When asked whether shooting "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" gave him some insight on what was wrong with our financial system, he said this, with exactly no interruptions:

"You can make the marketplace more transparent. If people had known who was paying for the mortgages instead of having to rely on Moody's triple-A (bull) rating -- transparency would have helped. The triple A rating thing is ridiculous. That's like Oliver [Stone] paying you for a review. The people who were bundling this toxic crap were paying Moody's for the review of their crap. That's ridiculous. You can't have bank holding companies acting as hedge funds. You can't have them taking a million-dollar pension plan for Joe Schmo the bus driver and treat it with the same risk appetite that you treat George Soros' pocket money. It's fundamentally ridiculous. And it hasn't gotten better very recently, actually. They went from bundling mortgages that were crap to bundling life insurance policies and betting on people's deaths. And you can't blame it all on the Street.... People's mentality needs to change. If the Greece contagion thing takes off and it goes from Spain to Ireland to Portugal things are going to change drastically for the world. Soup kitchens, it won't be that type of change. You won't get a depression that way. But it'll be very difficult. I think, my generation, it's hard to have hope when you got a $700-trillion derivatives debt to pay and a bubble about to explode and $500 trillion worth of GDP. You took all the money in  the world and put it in a pot, you're $200 trillion short. It's scary, man. You know the average person born today owes $8,000? The average person getting out of college owes $75,000 with no job. I mean it's scary. My generation, it's a scary situation."

If only some of that energy had come through in the last Indiana Jones.

-- Steven Zeitchik, reporting from Cannes, France


Photo: Shia LaBeouf and Harrison Ford in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Credit: Paramount Pictures.


Photos: Scene at Cannes Film Festival 2010

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Comments () | Archives (61)

The comments to this entry are closed.

love indy films but this one was laughable, was expecting a better script, that was makes all the difference, even if the actors nailed their parts, script sucked.

How are aliens any more crazy than death angels flying out of a box? or spontaneously aging to a deteriorating death by drinking from a cup?

They're not. It's just a movie. Have fun.

Spielberg has been hanging out with Lucas too much and had forgotten what made the original Indy movies great. Lucas should be at the core of the blame here since he pushed for the final (lame) script and probably pushed for the CGI gophers, monkeys, and other crap too. Indy is great because he's an adventurer, a rogue leader, a guy who not only performs death-defying heroic stunts but also has the brains to outwit his enemies. In Skull, Indy was mostly lead from plot point to plot point by Mutt, triple-agent Mac (who the audience doesn't get a chance to really care about outside of him betraying Indy), happy-go-lucky Marion, and the crazed Oxley. Not to mention that since a lot of the action scenes were CGI, everything felt too clean and sterile, removing some of the immersion.

Not to mention the odd mixture of campiness, like the 3 waterfalls scene. In Doom, when Indy, Short Round, and Willie fall off and unrealistically live through the waterfall, there's tension. When a boatfull of main characters fall off the waterfalls in Skull, it's almost comical. Spielberg needs to give Lucas some Jar Jar Binks toys to play with and get back to his dramatic roots, draw upon the creativity and mood that enabled him to make good movies, not mindless dreck.

Droped what ball? I really enjoyed the last Indiana Jones movie... what was wrong with it? He isn't happy with his acting? I think he is an overly self-critical guy maybe, seems unhappy with all his past performances, doesn't mean they weren't good.

i want my 5mins back

shia was the reason that pic sucked

Why do we care what this kid thinks about the movie? I have seen him in several things and don't see any talent. He is 23; seemingly not too bright, and has an acting range from A to B. He did the movie, was paid for it and NOW knocks it? Ask him about future acting jobs--

I'm looking forward to 5. I think they have all been great!

I thought his acting was good. It was the poor story line and ridiculous scenes that let the film down. Harrison Ford was great as ever

I liked IJ4 just fine mr lebeouff. Don't be so hard on yourself, no one could've pulled of a scene written for a grape ape.

I appreciate LeBoeuff's honesty. I was sorely dissapointed with Indy 4, but to be honest, I saw it bombing the moment I saw the trailer. It just didn't have the magic of the originals. The antics were far too over the top and they took the whole 'swashbuckling' label way too far. I mean come on, they had a sword fight on a moving car. Now that was just plain ridiculous. While I know none of that has to do with the acting, but it did take away from the experience.

As for the acting, I could agree with Shia, it just seemed a little half-assed, much like Star Wars Episodes II and III (especially II). I'm sure most of that had to do with the outlandish sets and over use of green screens, preventing the actors to fully connect with their characters, but they could've done better.

There are so many issues I have with so many of the actors that it was hard for me to actually believe they were themselves and not just cheap look-alike B-film actors, especially Cate Blanchet, she was a HUGE dissapointment in my eyes. I'm sorry if I sound cruel, but the acting was a disservice to the entire series and as Shia said, it did not provide us with a proper send off of our beloved Indiana Jones.

I am all for a 5th installment, but I want improvements in acting, effects, and story. I was VERY dissapointed with Lucas' choice of aliens and Crystal Skulls, it was not well thought out and there are SO MANY other fascinating artifacts/mysteries of ancient history from the major religions of the world today, all the way to pagan traditions. Why not investigate ancient Europe? After all, Dr. Henry Jones did study in France. Or Scandinavia. Why not the tribes of Africa? Or hey, a REAL archaeology theory in South America? Come on Lucas, crack open a book!

That's all I have to say, I'm sorry for the length, but it had to be said. I'm very glad that if Shia is to take on another Indy film, that he plans to make a difference, rather than go along for the ride. He's a great actor and can really make the series last!

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