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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)

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I don't think the last Indy Jones movie was so bad. Personally, I wish they had stuck to the metaphysical rather than the space alien thing, but I can see --in the context of the fifties and the obsession at that time with flying saucers-- why they went that way. But I still think it's a fun movie, worth seeing. My favorite remains Temple Of Doom, but I'd watch Kingdom of the Crystal Skull again, anytime.

I am literally dumber, having read this article.

I don't thinks so. It was great. It made me feel like a kid again. The alien thing was silly though. Can't wait for the next one.

There were aliens in the film. I was embarrassed for all involved.

yes, they bombed indy......most of it wasn't shia. Crappy script, crappy CGI, Indy all smiles the whole movie....was completely out of character for him...the character was always headstrong and cocksure, until it didn't work out as planned, then you could see the nervousness. In this film, you couldn't. The whole alien thing was a bit out there, particularly at the end. Any film that uses the phrase "you've just brought a knife to a gunfight" deserves to see the writer and anyone who approved it's use to be banned from making films for the rest of their lives.

How can you not like this kid? He's a bit of a screw-up, but he states the unvarnished truth at times. I like him.

I think he is totally right, that movie was awful and a total shame... I wonder how can they invest millions on it without doing a proper research... Peruvians with Mexican sombreros? The Nazca civilization in the middle of the jungle and with Aztec temples...and all the nonsense...just awful!

uh, world GDP estimates range anywhere starting from around 65 trillion (2007 estimnate). american GDP is 14 trillion annually. where did these figures come from? in all due respect to the 23 year old, the government, politicians and the "Street" sell fear. this is how money is stolen from us. take for instance the only successful program run by the government, social security. this program currently takes in 53 billion more each year than it pays out. there is a 3 trillion dollar surplus owed to the social security trust fund by the US. however, because politicians and the "Street" have been selling the fear that social security will collapse for decades, when haliburtin and that ilk of thieves figure out how to steal social security, the fund will collapse. nobody will question it! remember when little bush wanted that 3.53 trillion put on the "Street?" who said "let them eat cake?" and who sliced her head off-the French. the only ones with balls to figure this stuff out, and not stand for it!

This young man should just shut up. His views are totally irrelevant. He's irrelevant, as are most "young stars" these days.

I don't like the pukes name.

"..if you don't acknowledge it, then why do they trust you the next time you're promoting a movie."

shia only admitted the movie stunk AFTER everyone had already gone to see it. they ended filming, he knew it stunk, he went out to promote it, never said a word about how bad it was, and now after everyone has already seen it, he finally admits the truth. and he says he's coming out with the truth now because he wants to be trusted during the promotion phase? he lied during the last promotion phase! in 9 months, he'll come out and admit wall street stunk, after everyone has already paid their money. what a knob.

oh my

how does he get work? they should have cut all his scenes.

they should let the indy series die. i will be sad if they continue with mutt as the hero.

It's refreshing to hear Mr LaBeouf say that, though I think the movie had more redeemable qualities than he might think. I was less satisfied than I'd hoped I'd be when I first saw it, but I liked it more on the second viewing.

Whether Indy Jones V, which they are planning (?) to make ...


... involves a time before Shia's character appears or after, there is some good stuff available with making the Communists the new Nazis for the second trilogy of Indiana Jones.

Though it would push Shia's character out of the picture, something related to Korean War could also bring in World War II hold-outs, even Nazis, that could make things fun. Some suggestions:


the movie was great, why ruin the chances for another sequel? if i had to guess, this youngster is only bitter, maybe there won't be another one. I always hope Indy could find Atlantis. oh well.

This was the most important film of my adult life, given how much I loved the trilogy...and they ruined it. Spielberg and Lucas have already ruined enough franchises between the 2 of them. They need to stop ruining everyone's good feeling.

There was no way for an actor to make the swinging work unless it was more perripheral and with more focus on Indiana Jones. His wry reactions to the circumstances are what make that stuff work at all. Wouldn't have been the same with Mutt. I don't know what Shia means by "updating" it. Although I wouldn't complain if Indy drank from the Fountain of Youth in the 50's and Ford could still play the charaacter in a modern day setting with a totally recast middle-aged Mutt.

I'm sure Shia picked up some Wall Street insight from Oliver Stone, but as truthful as his observation (about the stock market) is, I'm not bolled over so much that I accept everything he says. The Transformers movies are a noisey mess. Indy 4 was fun despite Shia's punk pressence.

Well, "Joel Johnson" at least he doesn't have a last name that's slang for a particular part of the male anatomy. Lay off him.

I liked the movie. It wasn't up to par with Raiders by a long shot, but it was enjoyable and I could watch it before Crusade or Temple any day. I think too many people were holding it to a standard so high the filmmakers could never have achieved it. You're bound to be disappointed if you expect every film in a series to meet or beat the previous ones.

As for another Indy film, they can start by NOT hiring David Koepp to do the screenplay. That would help. Wanna capture the magic of Raiders' script? Hire Lawrence Kasdan. End of story.

After watching that one beginning scene with River Phoenix as young Indy, it was impossible watching this entire last movie withouut feeling that Shia was totally miscast. He just did not fill the shoe's of Indy's son. That was the only thing wrong with the movie.

I think everyone involved with Indy IV thought it would be an easy ride. A surefire hit. It was in one sense, but you can see that laziness onscreen.

And I agree that Indy was too smug. His reputation preceded him. So it was too much of a self-conscious movie.

The real question is: why isn't he apologizing for Transformers?

If you love "Indiana Jones" - you must hate "Skull". Sometimes it is so easy...

Fact is: "Skull" is an ANTI-Indiana Jones-Movie.

@ galvinator

He has.

The problem with Indy 4 wasn't the aliens. It was a) the cartoony interpretation of the characters' relationships and b) the cartoony action (jeep flying over a cliff and landing on a stretchy cartoon tree, Shia flying through trees with monkeys).

Aliens are no less fictional than God or Shankara stones, so they work for me. Should have been different though.

There is a problem with this world when a 23 year old who cannot pronounce common words makes way too much money.

"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."

and this affects him how?

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