Grad school hobo Shia LaBeouf has reemerged from his self-imposed exile from the spotlight, ready to defend his recent, Situationist thesis on the society of the spectacle—specifically, the spectacle that is a drunk and belligerent Shia LaBeouf. Last week, he began his comedown from this yearlong bender with the warm bowl of soup that is Ellen DeGeneres, telling her that he’d suffered an “existential crisis, which turned into some explorations. I had some hiccups, some judgment errors.” And as one does when trying to cure the hiccups, LaBeouf breathed into a paper bag for a while, then he turned these “explorations” into several plagiarized manifestos on plagiarism and an art exhibit. But as with all performance art pieces, really it was all about a desire for attention.
LaBeouf also discussed how he became an actor in order to fill a hole inside him, only to realize that each day there is another hole that will be dug, and so on and so on, releasing all manner of psychological lizards and snakes, until one day you find the treasure chest inside you. Indeed, he says, this is just the modern human condition, whether you are trolling an Internet comment board, or trolling the walking-world Internet comment board that is life:
I got into this industry ‘cause I had this void. I’m a kid of abandonment thing…. so I thought being good at being an actor would somehow fill that void…. So people who are online doing the comments want to make a mark. So I think we suffer from the same thing, which is just a lack of … attention and love.
That same, relatable lack of attention that leads you to post a comment can also lead the movie star to act out, in a desperate attempt to be noticed by all the cameras pointed at him. And that’s just what LaBeouf did when he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly at a performance of Cabaret. Last night, LaBeouf walked Jimmy Kimmel through the events of that now-infamous June evening, which he recounted as a series of delightful happenstances and misunderstandings seemingly plagiarized from every “I was so wasted” anecdote floating in the ether of every bar.
The gist of it: LaBeouf returned from Ireland with a taste for whiskey (“When you go to Rome, you have spaghetti. You go to Ireland, you drink whiskey,” LaBeouf says, now clearly plagiarizing Rick Steves); got fired up while watching the World Cup; befriended, then chased a homeless Marine—but for clarification, not for hat nor hamburger—before randomly encountering a dancer from Cabaret.
After agreeing with that dancer, “Let’s turn it up a bit,” LaBeouf’s increasingly drunken confusion led to his smoking inside a theater and slapping Alan Cumming’s ass (as one does), before he was arrested. Then, once he was in jail, he ripped off his shirt to “turn into Tupac” and intimidate his fellow inmates, then spit on a cop’s shoe. He ended his night in a Hannibal Lecter mask and with the sobering comfort of an Egg McMuffin.
Yes, this is Shia LaBeouf’s story—but as is so often the case with him—it could really be anyone’s story. Truly, life is a cabaret, my friends. And just like Cabaret, you just have to expect that sometimes Shia LaBeouf will show up and disrupt it.