Shia LaBeouf’s elevator stunt could have been just another excuse to be weird in front of an audience. Surprisingly, according to the students at Oxford University in England, he was rather friendly and appears to have stopped what the public might consider sulking.
Still called performance art, LaBeouf’s 24 hour stay in an elevator was actually a compromise. The University had asked him to speak publicly at the school, but the Transformers star said he didn’t want to just face the anxiety of being in front of a crowd of geniuses and then leave. Instead, as the New York Times reports, he streamed his stay in a student elevator for 12 hours before and after the lecture.
Allegedly, Shia had done it not only as performance art, but also to give the students a chance to actually talk to him. He seems to have come a long way from the shenanigans that made him famous for all the wrong reasons.
Before Shia LaBeouf’s elevator stay was ever a concept, he had been one of the many Disney child stars who’d had a hard time dealing with the growing pains after his fame. Much like Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and the kids from Full House and Diff’rent Strokes, LaBeouf didn’t adapt well as a teenager growing up in the spotlight.
It was around 2003 when fame may have started taking its toll, as Shia had minor parts in badly-received sequels such as Dumb and Dumber-er: When Harry Met Lloyd and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. From there, he entered the spotlight in Michael Bay’s Transformers. His insanity seemed to compound after each film. The shame of being in a spotlight which gained critical notoriety as the sequels progressed didn’t help.
Rosie Huntington-Whitely had gone from Dark of the Moon to the award-winning Mad Max: Fury Road, while Shia LaBeouf began taking on indie films and peculiar performance art like his elevator stunt at Oxford.
The first time, Shia showed up on the red carpet premiere of Nymphomaniac wearing a paper bag bearing the words, “I am not famous any more.” Clearly the contrary, he had gained the wrong kind of fame and he seemed to be attempting to rid himself of it. The truth, as Shia LaBeouf later confessed to an elevator patron, was simple.
“I don’t have any celebrity friends. I have shame about that like I have shame about wealth. That’s why you’ll never find me in a Lamborghini.”
Back when LaBeouf was involved in a Broadway play called Orphans, several castmates had complained about his volatile attitude which later appeared on full display in the Transformers sequels.
LaBeouf had followed up with the paper bag routine as he sat in a room, perfectly quiet, and let the public come in and do whatever they wanted. It probably didn’t help that YouTube reviewers such as Screen Junkies had taken the opportunity to ridicule him on camera.
Another piece of performance art prior to Shia LaBeouf’s elevator stunt was when he streamed himself watching all of his movies in a row. It was perhaps therapeutic for him, seeing himself grow on the big screen and eventually descend into madness.
Thankfully, at Oxford, when LaBeouf decided to get social with the students he had come to talk to, he seemed to have calmed quite a bit. One can only guess there weren’t many self-professed film critics slamming him for being part of Michael Bay’s fall from grace.
It seems LaBeouf has begun to discover where he feels comfortable, sharing his fame with the public. Only time will tell if Shia LaBeouf’s elevator stunt will be succeeded by another publicity stunt, for which the public would likely slam him once more.
[Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images]