James Franco may poke fun at himself a bit when he's with his buddies in films like "Pineapple Express" and "This Is The End", but that doesn't mean he hasn't taken a lot of criticism regarding his artsy inspirations and creative decisions. Labeled at times as pretentious and others as unfocused, Franco seems to shrug it off in favor of doing whatever his passions lead him to, and if that means a gallery show or a stint on a soap opera, then so be it.
That may be why he's trying to explain fellow actor Shia LaBeouf's recent bizarre behavior, then, choosing to write an op-ed piece for the New York Times about the seemingly troubled young man and his actions of late.
"Actors have been lashing out against their profession and its grip on their public images since at least Marlon Brando," he wrote. "Brando’s performances revolutionized American acting precisely because he didn’t seem to be 'performing,' in the sense that he wasn’t putting something on as much as he was being. Off-screen he defied the studio system’s control over his image, allowing his weight to fluctuate, choosing roles that were considered beneath him and turning down the Oscar for best actor in 1973. These were acts of rebellion against an industry that practically forces an actor to identify with his persona while at the same time repeatedly wresting it from him."
Franco also addressed the speculation surrounding LaBeouf's behavior, saying that many reasons could be involved:
"This behavior 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," he wrote.
LaBeouf hasn't commented publicly on the speculation surrounding his behavior, but has taken to posting "I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE" on his Twitter page repeatedly. The same phrase was written on a paper bag which he used to cover his face at a recent "Nymphomaniac" screening.
Image via Wikimedia Commons