Celebrity doesn't interest actor
Shia LaBeouf's career is hot, but don't expect partying
By Scott Bowles
Shia LaBeouf is a liar.
"Acting is a con," the 20-year-old says. "At the end of the day, you lie for a living. You're deceitful. That's my goal. To be the best possible liar."
If so, then LaBeouf is the hottest fraud in Hollywood.
Consider: For all the pirates and web-slingers invading theaters, LaBeouf, who turned 21 on Monday, has anchored the only movie this year to hold the No. 1 spot at the box office for three straight weeks, "Disturbia."
And there's more. He's the voice of Cody Maverick, a hotshot surfing penguin in "Surf's Up," which opened last Friday. Next month he stars in Michael Bay's "Transformers."
And next year, he's snagged a key, though secret, role in the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise.
Don't bother asking LaBeouf how he managed to become Hollywood's "It" boy. He's trying to avoid the title.
"I don't want to be the summer blockbuster guy. Or the teen horror guy. I don't want to be anything celebrity, really."
That includes discussing much about his personal life and dating.
"I don't go to clubs, and you won't see me out partying," he says over lunch at Musso & Frank's Grill, the renowned Hollywood restaurant that has served Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin, Nicolas Cage and Sean Penn.
"I want a career like those guys, not like a Lindsay Lohan," he says. "She's a talented actress but has made some scary decisions. If I'm perceived as someone like that, I'm going to be screwed trying to give a Michael Caine performance."
For "Surf's Up," LaBeouf and co-stars Jeff Bridges, Jon Heder and Zooey Deschanel spent hours in the recording studio, joking and improvising.
"We'd just hang out for days" in the recording booth, Bridges says. "(LaBeouf) has a lot of composure and maturity for someone his age."
Much of that comes from LaBeouf's unglamorous childhood in East Los Angeles. He saw acting as a way out.
He and his father, Jeffrey, would sneak onto Malibu beaches to surf. One morning, he met a boy wearing new Puma shoes. LaBeouf asked the boy how he could afford them.
"The kid said, 'I'm an actor,' like a real (jerk)," LeBeouf recalls. "He said, 'First you have to be a model, then you get to be an actor.'
"Well, I wasn't going to be a model; I looked like a young Garry Shandling," LaBeouf says. "So I just started auditioning for acting parts."
It didn't take LaBeouf long to land commercials and a part on the Disney Channel's "Even Stevens" that earned him a Daytime Emmy. From there, he began landing movie roles, including "Holes," "Constantine" and "Bobby."