Shia Saide La Beouf was born in Los Angeles, California, to Shayna (Saide) and Jeffrey Craig La Beouf, and is an only child. He just became a real mentor to me, and his wisdom, his years of experience, just gave me a whole new perspective on what I'm doing.
His car crash at the end of July 2008 left him with a damaged hand. Talent is like you know I never really believed in talent, I believed in drive and determination and preparation but talent is sort of like luck. People don't look at that character, Gordon Gekko, and see an enemy. And my mom, before she met him, had a head shop in Brooklyn. All her furniture hung upside-down from the ceiling. I don't understand what it is I do that people want. Michael told me there was a guy in London who, if I didn't sign up for, you know, a rebated deal [would replace me]. He's the greatest action director in film, I think. They give you the money, and they trust you - [unlike the studios, which] give you the money, then get on a plane and come to the set and stick a finger up your ass and chase you around for five months. So the literal translation of my name is "S*** the Beef". They put people in a fucking home for doing what we do for a living. If you're going to work in that way, you have to work with people who can referee you.
He had to undergo extensive surgery that lasted for at least 4 hours. There's something about watching your dad go through heroin withdrawal when you're 11. I wouldn't want to think of myself as talented it doesn't seem like there's any validity in that. But it hasn't been a romantic thing, because you're trying to respect the work environment. And with sex and romance, things can become so convoluted so fast. They look at him like they look at Scarface (1983), a kind of role model. My whole thing was I wanted to work with Michael, because first and foremost, I'm a true fan of Mike's movies. And meeting him in person was a very different thing; he's not at all this alpha male, this machismo legend shit-he's not any of these things. He's blunt with women; he lacks tact-especially on the stage that we're on, there's no time or room for talking around feelings. [on deeply regretting what he said about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) and how it negatively affected his relationship with Steven Spielberg] He told me there's a time to be a human being and have an opinion, and there's a time to sell cars.
His injury will be written into Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) from which he had to take some time off after the crash. As spelled, it is a Cajun deformation of the original French name "Le Boeuf". I like to think of myself as an ordinary man with extra ordinary determination. [on his co-star Megan Fox] She is a very attractive girl. There's not one movie he's made that I'm not entertained by-not one. When he's on set, he's different; when he's on set, he's a leader, a general; he's relentless. It brought me freedom, but it also killed my spirits because this was a dude I looked up to like a sensei.
They liked him and signed him, and then he started auditioning. Tom Cruise wasn't an actor before he met me, either." I've never been so scared into submission. (2011, on meeting Michael Bay and getting cast in Transformers (2007)) I did a screen test and they sent my dailies to Michael, and Michael asked to meet with me.
He is well known for playing Louis Stevens on the popular Disney Channel series Even Stevens (1999) and has won a Daytime Emmy Award for his performance. I know I'm one of the luckiest dudes in America right now. I still hadn't met Steven (Spielberg) at this point.
His best known role is as Sam Witwicky, the main protagonist of the first three installments of the Transformers series: Transformers (2007), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). I went and sat down with Michael; he had me read these really generic lines for what seemed like a stand-up routine; the character was-it was a neurotic monologue.
Attended the prestigious Hamilton Academy of Music in Los Angeles, California, along with actors such as Emile Hirsch, Fernanda Romero, Frank Miranda Will Rothhaar, Rachel Kiri Walker, Candace Lifson, Kyla Pratt, Kaitlin Doubleday and Cherish Lee. And then he asked me to ad-lib my own separate monologue on the tail end of it and then combine the two of them, and then run in this parking lot and do the monologue, and then run up the stairs and do the monologue, and then do push-ups and do the monologue. It is Lars von Trier, making a movie about what he's making.
For music, he likes to listen to System of a Down, 50 Cent, Eminem, D12, Led Zeppelin, Jack Johnson, Ben Folds and others. Stuff like that-I mean literally, literally, literally. For instance, there's a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says we're doing it for real.
His film, Disturbia (2007) features a song by System of a Down, "Lonely Day". My generation will actually be the first generation that is tamer than the one that came before it, and it will probably be poorer; less fun and less money. In my parents' generation, rebellion was pop culture. You can see it in something as simple as where their music was at and where ours is now. And then we went downstairs, and we talked about my upbringing and all that, and my family. Everything that is illegal, we'll shoot in blurred images. [on his family name's unusual spelling] In French, La Beouf means "beef", but mine is spelled wrong. My grandmother was a beatnik lesbian in the '50s, who hated her family and decided to change the spelling, and it's been that way ever since.
When he was a guest on Late Show with David Letterman (1993) during the hype for Transformers (2007), Dave asked Shia how his name originated. [on his co-star Harrison Ford] I've been fortunate enough to work with Harrison on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), and I can honestly say it is a dream come true. And he's incredible because he make movies even better, because we love him as much as Indy hates snakes, and because he's captain of the goddamn Millennium Falcon! If you look at our Billboard Top 100, a lot of those songs on there are from Christian country artists. The fact that religion is even still talked about is kind of wild to me. We started talking about the stand-up routine and then he asked me to do some of my stand-up routine for him, which I did. He knows exactly what he wants; he understands his audience. If you can make it on a Bay set, you can make it on any set. [on being done working in the studio system] I'm done. He's the most dangerous dude that I've ever showed up for. So you go to France and people are like, "La Beouf?
Shia responded saying that the name "Shia" was Hebrew for Praise God and his last name "La Beouf" was French for Beef, hence the phrase "Praise God for Beef". Talent is funny, I've always looked at talent like what the hell does talent really mean? It's not really anything, it's just a fictitious word that people have created and labeled things. Pure selfishness, "Greed is good", It really happened. I think my generation understands it, but they are too selfish to let it matter. My dad was a wandering dude recovering from the war in Vietnam. Actors live dependent on being validated by other people's opinions. Not long after that-maybe a week later-I was still shooting Disturbia, that tape had gone to Steven and he had signed off, and Michael said that he had signed off, and they were working on my deal. I think the dude is a genius; I think he's a visionary. There's no room for being a visionary in the studio system. You give Terrence Malick a movie like Transformers (2007), and he's fucked. [contrasting working independently versus working with studios] These dudes [Voltage Pictures] are a miracle. Sex is different than love, and there is a separation, and that middle gap is what the movie's about. You have an illiterate last name." By the way, Shia is a bad four-letter word in French. I'm not a very intelligent person, and you've got to be a fucking genius to learn from other people's mistakes, because you've got to be a very smart man to learn from your own.