Meet Music’s Next Superstar: Shia LaBeouf

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The 26-year-old Transformers star has thrown as many punches as he has parties, he has a rap sheet as long as his filmography, and when he’s not pissing off studio heads, he’s messing around with another guy’s girlfriend. But Shia LaBeouf may also be the most honest—and complex—actor/film director/musician alive. More than meets the eye? Damn right.

The many faces of Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf born June 11, 1986, is an American actor who became known among younger audiences as Louis Stevens in the Disney Channel series Even Stevens. LaBeouf received a Young Artist Award nomination in 2001 and won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2003 for his role. He made his film debut in Holes (2003), based on the novel of the same name by Louis Sachar. In 2004, he made his directorial debut with the short film Let’s Love Hate and later directed and shot the music video for “I Never Knew You” by rapper Cage.

In 2007, LaBeouf starred in the lead role of the commercially successful films, Disturbia, and Surf’s Up. The same year he was cast in Michael Bay‘s science fiction film Transformers as Sam Witwicky, the main protagonist of the series. Despite mixed reviews, Transformers was a box office success and one of the highest grossing films of 2007. LaBeouf later appeared in it sequels Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), both also a box office success. In 2008, he played Henry “Mutt Williams” Jones III in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise. The film was a critical and commercial success.

His other films include Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), Lawless (2012), The Company You Keep (2012) and Nymphomaniac (2013).

He directed the music video for “I Never Knew You”, a single off rapper Cage‘s third album, Depart From Me. It was shot in LA and features cameos by other Definitive Jux artists.The two will also team up to make a biopic about the rapper’s life, starring LaBeouf.  Of making the video, LaBeouf said, “I’m 22 and I’m directing my favorite rapper’s music video. This shit is better than riding unicorns.” In addition to directing the short film, MANIAC for Kid Cudi and Cage’s collaborative track he also directed and filmed Kid Cudi’s music video for “Marijuana” at the 2010 Cannabis Cup.

The now 26-year-old actor was to star opposite Alec Baldwin and Tom Sturridge in the revival of Lyle Kessler‘s 1983 play, which follows two orphaned brothers living off the proceeds of petty theft in a run-down North Philadelphia row house. LaBeouf’s role was the elder brother who supports his simple-minded younger sibling (Sturridge). One night he kidnaps an enigmatic rich man, played by Baldwin, who becomes the kind of father figure the boys have always longed for.

Weeks before previews were to begin, Shia LaBeouf dropped out of his planned Broadway debut in the play Orphans because of “creative differences.”

“I’m done,” he vented to The Hollywood Reporter last summer. “There’s no room for being a visionary in the studio system. It literally cannot exist. You give Terrence Malick a movie like Transformers, and he’s f—ed. There’s no way for him to exist in that world.”

His recent film credits include Lawless, the Robert Redford-directed The Company You Keep, and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, in which he stars opposite Evan Rachel Wood and Melissa Leo. He also has a racy role in Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac, co-starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard.

Meet Music’s Next Superstar: Shia LaBeouf

Last week, actor and LSD-enthusiast Shia LaBeouf and synth-pop duo Future Unlimited debuted the gloomy video for “Haunted Love” directed by none other than everyone’s favorite Michael Bay leading man. LaBeouf has had many an odd foray into music video. From a thirty-minute musical of interpretive dancing to sad Icelandic piano music, let’s look back at some LaBeouf deep cuts and no longer regret that his film Disturbia and Rihanna’s song of the same name were not related.

Even Stevens

“Influenza: The Musical”

In 2002, Even Stevens did what has since become commonplace on almost every Disney series nowadays — they had the cast flex their vocal skills and participate in a musical episode. In “Influenza: The Musical,” Ren (Christy Carlson Romano) has a flu-fueled hallucination. Shia’s character Louis, the troublemaking younger brother, attempts to avoid then subsequently sings about an over-the-top physical endurance test in gym class. With his raspy pre-pubescent voice, baby Shia graces our ears with classics like “I Always Find a Way” and “I’ve Got Hot Soup…” as he begins taking his first steps into low-key involvement with the music world.

Even Stevens

“Another Perfect Day”

Getting a little Partridge, Louis and Ren join some friends to form the the Twitty-Stevens Connection a few episodes after they just couldn’t stop breaking out in song. This time, Shia’s Louis is a drummer who encourages the band to play on the school’s roof. Shenanigans ensue and it ends with this stereotypically Disney tune and its feel-good message.


“Dig It” by The D-Tent Boys

Oh, you thought he could only kind of sing? Enter #RAPGAMELABEOUF in a film based off every ten-year-old’s favorite fifth grade reading assignment, Holes. Having started being typecast as a good guy caught in bad situations early, Shia takes on the role of Stanley Yelnats, who finds himself in a juvenile detention camp run by Warrant Officer Ripley and Angelina Jolie’s dad, who make Stanley and the other boys dig holes every day. A bunch of other Important Things occur in both the film and book, but the most important takeaway is that Holes brought us #RAPGAMELABEOUF, and for that we’re all pretty lucky.


“The Best Look in the World”

In 2007, Shia began making his real career breakthrough as a non-child actor with starring roles in blockbusters Transformers and Disturbia after paying some acting dues in small but critically acclaimed indie flicks. Naturally, this meant he’d get a chance to host an episode of Saturday Night Live, as many an upcoming “it” star has done. Over the course of 13 months, Shia hosted not one but two episodes of the series and participated in some of the early digital shorts Andy Samberg helped create and make popular. During his second hosting gig in 2008, Shia helped sing and perform an ode to white shirt-black socks-no pants look, otherwise known as “The Best Look in the World.” It also marks the first time he let his junk air out in a video. We’ll get to the second time in a few.


“I Never Knew You”

Shia’s contributions to the music industry go above and beyond kind of singing and kind of rapping. Actually, his directorial work has probably been some of the more shining moments in his career. Shia marked his debut as a music video director with the clip for friend Cage’s “I Never Knew You.” The clip features Dan Byrd (Easy A) stalking a woman between clips of Cage’s highly emotive and body-jerking performance. While the video is as twisted and dark as Cage’s brand of hip-hop, it feels lighter than some of Shia’s later creations.


Starring Kid Cudi and Cage

In what may be the actor/director’s Career Highlight, Shia based a short film off of the song collaboration between Kid Cudi and Cage, “Maniac.” It features the rappers speaking French and doing some gruesome things as they play two serial killers being willingly followed by a documentary film crew. It’s got the same biting snark and gore of early Tarantino films, and like Tarantino, LaBeouf steps on camera for only a minute to take a small and grotesquely memorable role.

Kid Cudi


Shia also directed the “Marijuana” video for Cudi and the final product looks like a test of every Instagram filter. It’s a simple video featuring Cudi smoking a lot of weed at Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam (way to think outside the box, LaBeouf). Dig beneath the surface of both song and video, though, and you’ll see Cudi is actually no longer saving the last dance for Mary Jane and brought an enthusiastic Shia along to document it.

Sigur Rós

“Fjögur Píanó”

Last year, atmospheric and always ~2 artsy 4 u~ Icelandic band Sigur Rós released a 16 video series that accompanied their album Valtari. This time, rather than directing the music video, Shia starred in the Alma Har’el clip for “Fjögur Píanó” alongside Denna Thomsen as a tormented couple. There’s interpretive dancing, cross-dressing, nudity, and lots of butterflies. Though it feels like an inaccessible artistic exploration at first, the video has an oddly compelling tone and Shia is captivating when scored by the piano-driven track.

Future Unlimited

“Haunted Love”

The aforementioned video that made us think back on all Shia’s strange and varied history with music is for Future Unlimited, a duo from Nashville. There are quite a few things happening in the video and all of them are terrifying. Starring LaBeouf’s current girlfriend and Nymphomaniac castmate Mia Goth, “Haunted Love” scores a Southern gothic nightmare involving a baby on fire, poison, one-armed interpretive dancing (looks like he became inspired after his project with Sigur), and a ridiculous amount of blood. We told you “I Never Knew You” was the tip of an iceberg of horror and this is proven not even a minute into the video.

Rob Cantor

“Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf”

Shia did not direct the video for or write this song. Rob Cantor of Tally Hall blessed Tumblr users everywhere by creating the most inescapable meme on the blog last year. “Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf” details an encounter with a flesh-eating Shia and doesn’t seem like a departure from the actor/director/singer/#rapgamechanger’s current visual trajectory in music. Beyond that, the track may be the most ridiculous Shia related moment since Indiana Jones 4. (OH SNAP)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Nominated work Result
2000 Young Star Award for Best Young Actor in a Comedy Series Even Stevens Nominated
2001 Young Artist Award for Outstanding Performance in a TV Comedy Series: Leading Young Actor Even Stevens Nominated
2003 Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series Even Stevens Won
2004 MTV Movie Award Best Breakthrough Male Performance Holes Nominated
2004 Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Holes Nominated
2007 Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Breakout Male Disturbia Won
2007 Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Chemeistry (shared with Bumblebee) Transformers Nominated
2007 Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Liplock (shared with Megan Fox) Transformers Nominated
2007 Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Horror/Thriller Actor Disturbia Won
2008 BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award Won
2008 MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance Transformers Nominated
2008 MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Sarah Roemer) Disturbia Nominated
2009 MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance Eagle Eye Nominated
2009 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Couple (shared with Megan Fox) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Nominated
2010 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actor Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Nominated
2011 Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer: Movie Actor Transformers: Dark of the Moon Nominated
2011 Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Actor Drama Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Nominated
2011 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Couple (shared with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) Transformers: Dark of the Moon Nominated
2011 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Ensemble (shared with the cast) Transformers: Dark of the Moon Nominated

Sources:  Alternative PressGoogle, Village Voice, Wikipedia, YouTube

Cannes Film Festival: Beyond Memories – Lexus Short Films (+ Behind the scenes)

Cannes 2013 Poster

Cannes 2013 Poster

The 66th annual Cannes Film Festival took place in Cannes, France, from 15 to 26 May 2013.  Steven Spielberg was the head of the jury for the main competition. The New Zealand film director Jane Campion was the head of the jury for the Ciné fondation and Short Film sections. The French actress Audrey Tautou hosted the opening and closing ceremonies.

The festival opened with The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann and closed with Zulu, directed by Jérôme Salle.  The film poster for the festival featured Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward.  The Bling Ring, directed by Sofia Coppola, opened the Un Certain Regard section.

We were especially attracted to a short film, Beyond Memories, directed by Cristina Molino,  We were absolutely spellbound by the brilliant lead actress Jolene Anderson and how she managed to film some scenes in the cold waters of Long Beach, California, and the origin of the idea of  Cristina Molina for her short film.

So, we decided to share this film with you.

About Lexus Short Films:

Lexus wants new car shoppers to see the brand as representing sophistication and a design-centric philosophy, and recently launched a new campaign to help get the message across.

As part of the campaign, the Japanese automaker launched a new lifestyle magazine and announced it would be sponsoring art and design exhibitions. It also teamed up with The Weinstein Company to create a series of arty short films.

The first of these, titled Beyond Memories, was premiered during the recent 2013 Cannes Film Festival in France.

According to Lexus, the short film is about the struggles of a young woman trying to get over a past love.

Unlike past short films we’ve seen from the major automakers, like BMW’s pioneering The Hire series as well as Jaguar’s more recent Desire, Lexus’ new short film shows no relation to its actual cars.

This, however, may change for the forthcoming films in the series. They will be released on the 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th of June.

Beyond Memories – WATCH THE FILM

Beyond Memories | LEXUS SHORT FILMS
This is a very unique short film that blurs past, present and future for director Cristina Molina’s characters. Sophie believes that forgetting is the only way of moving on with her life, but one day she realizes that she can’t make memories from a previous life completely disappear. All those memories are still there, hidden inside her mind.

Directed by Cristina Molino

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Film & Animation

Go behind the scenes to watch the making of BEYOND MEMORIES. In this clip we are in Northern California running through the woods with actors Colin Branca and Jolene Anderson. Director Cristina Molina discusses Jolene’s character in this Lexus Short Film and shares her vision of this red-haired woman.

Published on Jun 14, 2013
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Go behind the scenes to look at the making of Timeless Wardrobe, the Cold Plunge and The Majestic Forest of Beyond Memories.

Published on Jun 11, 2013

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BEYOND MEMORIES. In this clip we take a behind the scenes look at the wardrobe with costume designer Bobbie Mannix.

Published on Jun 9, 2013

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For the Lexus Short Film, BEYOND MEMORIES the location department needed to find a majestic place to film this timeless couple played by Colin Branca and Jolene Anderson. They found the perfect place in the redwood forests of Northern California where the old growth trees create the ideal backdrop for this story.

Published on Jun 4, 2013

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For Cristina Molina’s film, BEYOND MEMORIES, her lead actress Jolene Anderson had to brave the cold cold waters of Northern California. In this behind the scenes look we see Jolene filming on location and in a water tank in Long Beach, California to capture the underwater elements on the sequence.

Watch the Director’s Vision video clip. Cristina Molina’s film Beyond Memories.  Go behind the scenes to look at the making of the film.

Published on Jun 4, 2013

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Director Cristina Molina talks about the origin of the idea for her Lexus Short Film, BEYOND MEMORIES. Cristina discusses the special significance of objects in her film as we see a behind the scenes look at the making of the film.


Cristina Molino is a Spanish director and cinematographer from Madrid Spain. She trained as a photographer at Efti School and as a Cinematographer at Madrid’s Film School, ECAM, where she was awarded with first-class honours and received an award sponsored by Kodak, Technicolor lab and Camara Rental. After working as a photographer and several projects as a Cinematographer, she initiated herself also as a film director. ¿Te vas? (Are you leaving?), a work that has been awarded in fifteen film festivals including the International Film Festival of Locarno, was the first short film that Cristina directed. Soon after she directed her second short film, Retorno (Return) and recently her third, Nada (in post-production). In addition to her own film projects, she is currently working as a commercial director and cinematographer for the Spanish production companies Think Mol and Lee Films International as well as the American production company Red Magma Media.

Daft Punk: Helmets For Sale!?

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It’s too late now, and it’s probably been too late for the last 10 years. Daft Punk, the French electronic duo who has singlehandedly dominated the press for the last month, will be wearing their robot suits for the rest of their lives. There will never be a reveal, a coming out, or a change of tone. Frat-trance superstar Deadmau5 has, for the most part, removed the cybernetic mouse head. KISS wrote Lick It Up and removed the face paint on MTV. But even now, when Homework is a 16-year old album, Daft Punk will always be a gold helmet and a silver helmet.

If Daft Punk wanted to, they could’ve removed their uniforms in the early 2000s without much fanfare or drama. They could still headline festivals, and tour with a giant pyramid, and they could still make gleaming, romantic, semi-vintage dance music they’ve become famous for. But that didn’t happen, and the cover of the just-released Random Access Memories is emblazoned with the same severe iconography. It’s hard to think of any outfit in music that’s stayed so relentlessly dedicated to a theme over multiple decades. GWAR? Maybe The Residents?

It’s clear that Daft Punk’s aesthetic legacy, and PR maneuvers is born out of the retro-futuristic novelty, and perhaps they keep the suits on simply for purposes of reputation. But that only goes so far, the fact of the matter is that Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homen-Christo are almost 40, and have been hiding their public appearance for a very, very long time. The last 12 years has culturally solidified Daft Punk as a band of robots. For every show, every commercial, every photoshoot, these two men have accepted the fate of dressing up in what looks to be a very sweaty, uncomfortable outfit. That is a profound dedication, and it can’t be written off as simple frivolity. Why do they make this sacrifice? Clearly Daft Punk feel they benefit from the robots, and that might make them the most self-conscious band in the world.

It seems innocuous enough, but what would the impact be if there was a human face behind a song like “Get Lucky”? Would it feel the same? Or would be just a little less intoxicating? Is it easier to fall for something graciously pulpy and populist like roller-rink disco when it comes to us from cartoon characters? And as real life humans, is it ever hard not to blush making this music? Daft Punk’s only resistance to the goof is their masks. The faceless, nameless robots soak up all the attention and enthusiasm, and critics and fans alike start to regard Daft Punk on their own terms, in their own universe. Essentially Daft Punk wipe away any qualms of plasticity by engaging in maximum goof. Saying “One More Time” is too silly profoundly misses the point. But without the masks, it might become a lot easier. Without the masks, Daft Punk might be a hated band.

Daft Punk rely on their costumes because they rely on suspended cynicism. So much so that they might be actually terrified of ever breaking the fantasy. Superhero music needs to be made by superheroes, not men, and certainly not DJs. It’s not to say that Daft Punk haven’t created some of the most singular dance music of their generation, but instead that the public’s continued, unfettered enthusiasm about their music is directly tied to their image. Nobody can ever cut Daft Punk down for being too bright or too obvious because, honestly, what else would you expect from a pair of robots? There’s absolutely no doubt the world wouldn’t be as excited about Random Access Memories if it was coming from just a couple of guys.

But you know what? The robots are totally worth it. If we need a giddy fantasy to trust ourselves enough to enjoy recklessly optimistic music, then they’re doing God’s work. Daft Punk needed to transcend their humanity for their confidence, for their message, and for their audience. They needed to create some distance from the world, in order to bring us in closer than ever. The albums just wouldn’t be as magical if they were coming from planet Earth. Daft Punk dress up like robots for plenty of commercial reasons, but most of all, they do it for us.