James Franco has written an essay about fellow actor Shia LaBeouf, explaining the Transformers star's recent actions may be an attempt for him to "reclaim his public persona."
In case you need to be caught up, LaBeouf was criticized for the striking similarities between his short film "Howard Cantour.com" and a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. Since then, he has plagiarized apologies, re-posted legal documents sent to him by Clowes' attorneys, and wore a bag over his head emblazoned with the statement, "I am not famous anymore."
In a lengthy article published in The New York Times, Franco writes LaBeouf's recent shenanigans "could be a sign of many things, from a nervous breakdown to mere youthful recklessness. For Mr. LaBeouf’s sake I hope it is nothing serious. Indeed I hope — and, yes, I know that this idea has pretentious or just plain ridiculous overtones — that his actions are intended as a piece of performance art, one in which a young man in a very public profession tries to reclaim his public persona."
Franco also reveals, "At times I have felt the need to dissociate myself from my work and public image. In 2009, when I joined the soap opera 'General Hospital' at the same time as I was working on films that would receive Oscar nominations and other critical acclaim, my decision was in part an effort to jar expectations of what a film actor does and to undermine the tacit — or not so tacit — hierarchy of entertainment."
Franco goes on to draw comparisons between LaBeouf's actions and Joaquin Phoenix's in-character meltdown for the film I'm Still Here.
Franco concludes, "I just hope that he is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist."
Read James Franco's full essay here.