The secret history of Shia LaBeouf

    Fans of Shia LaBeouf, who are henceforth be known as LaBeouf buffs, know that the Hollywood actor has played some pretty kooky roles in his career: a boy with down syndrome in a DCOM movie that might have been of questionable taste, a delinquent who digs a bunch of holes, a guy who frenches Megan Fox while alien robots blow stuff up. Still, those characters don’t hold a crazy candle to Shia in his weirdest role of all: his life. As it turns out, the guy we all loved growing up from Disney’s Even Stevens has a pretty bizarre biography. Though some people choose to mock Shia’s weirdness, true LaBeouf buffs, knowing where Shia came from and what he’s been through, celebrate it. The following is a totally true account of the life of Shia LaBeouf.

    Scholars may disagree with me, but I believe Shia's foray into the bizarre began with his naming. Shia LaBeouf. It’s a name that rolls off the tongue and is fun to say but that I’d be afraid to call three times fast while looking in a mirror. “Shia” which comes from the Hebrew “Gift of God” and "LaBeouf” which comes from the French “the beef” when combined can roughly be translated into “God’s gift of beef,” which is funny, since I always thought of Louis Stevens as more of a ham. (Thanks, I’ll be here all week.)

    But no weird name is complete without a weird childhood to back it up. In reference to his upbringing, Shia has described his parents as “hippies,” a word that, in my opinion, doesn’t fully convey Shia’s progenitors’ level of batshit crazy. In between smoking marijuana with 10-year-old Shia, Papa LaBeouf brought his son to his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The two also sold hot dogs in the park together. Wait, that’s not that weird. Oh, that’s right: They sold hot dogs in the park together while dressed as clowns. Still worried that Shia might grow up to be a well-adjusted individual without childhood trauma that will resurface later in life? Never fear, Papa LaBeouf’s got this: Shia’s dad once held a gun to his son’s head during a Vietnam War flashback, which is more terrifying than funny.

    Fast-forward to age 11, and Shia is performing stand-up comedy in L.A. clubs. He finds an agent on his own from the Yellow Pages and gets cast as Louis Stevens. He has a bar mitzvah and attends a mostly black school. The Golden Age of Shia begins, peaking with his performance in Holes, and culminating with the release of Transformers. Maybe it was the pressure of a blockbuster breakthrough or, I don’t know, maybe something traumatic happened in his childhood, but things with Shia get weird again. Shia breaks the laws, but in the absolute weirdest ways. He is cited for smoking in a non-smoking zone and arrested for refusing to leave a Walmart. Throw in the occasional bar brawl and drunk driving arrest, and at first glance, Shia is just your run-of-the-mill aging child star. But don’t be fooled just yet.

    These days, Shia has gone all Portland and turned into a total fucking hipster. His hobbies include live tweeting his acid trips, writing then handing out his own comic books for free and starring in Sigur Ros music videos in the La-buff. Also, in a far cry from baby-faced Louis Stevens, Shia now walks around looking like this. Though I guess that transformation is nothing compared to what happened to Beans.

    What the future holds next for Shia is unclear. Given his strange background and the pressures of Hollywood, it is no wonder Shia is a little … odd. An amalgamation of Nicolas Cage’s utter insanity, Robert Downey Jr.’s suave alcoholism and James Franco’s inexplicable Holly-weirdness, with perhaps a dash of Joaquin Phoenix’s bizarre too-cool-to-care ‘tude, it’s clear that Shia’s story is far from over. To his credit though, despite the drugs, the crime, the questionable facial hair, Shia is still relatively successful. Let Shia be weird. Although we certainly shouldn’t celebrate Shia’s law breaking (drunk driving is not cool), let him spend his weekends whittling toilet seats that say “Pooperazzi” if he wants. Weird is what Shia came from, and because as weird as he is, Shia’s ambition has kept him going. He still stars in movies. He financially supports his parents. He hasn’t actually done jail time yet. He hasn’t run into trouble with the law for a few years now. He dated the beautiful, talented Carey Mulligan. He’s been called the next Tom Hanks. He hangs out with his old, pre-fame friends to stay grounded. And after all, he has managed to stay away from TSwift. So for all that I say, Shia, keep it real, keep it weird, and no more trips to Walmart.


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