We probably don’t need to rehash the past year or so in Shia LaBeouf antics for you right now. We all still remember the plagiarism-and-skywriting bit, the retirement thing, the head-butting situation, the bag-on-the-head gambit, the performance-art shenanigans. He’s been busy, and we’ve been paying attention, because he’s a foundering, homegrown cherub from this City of Angels, sheltered in an abandoned bear cave at the L.A. Zoo, raised in Griffith Park by balloon-hawking grifter clowns, and coming of age in front of the unblinking gaze of our cameras. We watch as he tries and fails to hide his breathtaking wings beneath a tattered T-shirt as he walks among us, both debased and exulted, empty whiskey bottle in one hand and unstrung lyre in the other, muttering something that could be a warning to the omnipresent paparazzi or the first draft of his Oscar acceptance speech for 2018 — you probably shouldn’t get close enough to find out which.
But every so often he’ll forget that he’s Not Famous Anymore, tear off that shirt, and extend to full wingspan to let us gaze, however briefly, upon his true glory. Like when he’s got a new movie to promote and a comfortable talk-show couch to sink into and a great yarn to spin before he gets to the dirty but necessary work of project-plugging. Like last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, when he decided to tell his side of the “Shia LaBeouf chased a homeless man around Manhattan, got shitfaced at Cabaret, manhandled Alan Cumming’s leather-wrapped man-hams, and got paddywagoned off to jail, where he then spit on a cop” story. OK, his side, then: He was chasing the homeless guy because some dope with an iPhone scared him, Cabaret seemed like a fun place for an actor with some time on his hands to get Broadway-turnt with some 50- and 60-year-old ladies looking for a good time, and oops, sorry about the spitting-on-the-cop thing, his bad, he maybe got a tad too Method with his unexpected role as America’s Scared Shitless Fuckup Little Brother Who Suddenly Finds Himself Drying Out in a Holding Cell. He’s bearded and aw-shucks-y and just wants a hug from all of us.
So c’mere, you glorious, bewinged scamp. Let us comb out your feathers for a minute, you got some of our mortal filth caught in them. You keep talking. It’s a great story. Fury‘s in theaters this Friday, Brad Pitt really is as cool as he seems.