NEW YORK, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- James Franco -- whose interests range from acting to poetry to lackluster awards-show hosting -- has taken a few shots from the media during his career, though he's never gone off the rails. Shia LaBoeuf, however, has spent the last several months in an apparent downward spiral involving alleged plagiarism, erratic Twitter outbursts, odd red-carpet attire and most recently, an art installation in Los Angeles.
But in a New York Times op-ed, Franco said we should lay off the "feeding frenzy" and go a little easier on the 27-year-old Nymphomaniac star.
"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," Franco wrote. "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."
Franco cited his own experience with fame, nothing that it's difficult for actors to take back power over their own persona.
"Our rebellion against the hand that feeds us can instigate a frenzy of commentary that sets in motion a feedback loop: acting out, followed by negative publicity, followed by acting out in response to that publicity, followed by more publicity, and so on," he added. "Participating in this call and response is a kind of critique, a way to show up the media by allowing their oversize responses to essentially trivial actions to reveal the emptiness of their raison d’être. Believe me, this game of peek-a-boo can be very addictive."
Still, Franco warned LaBeouf to take care that his art project, if it is such, doesn't overshadow his work as an actor.
LaBeouf also has the support of the much younger Jaden Smith, the 15-year-old son of Will Smith, who took to Twitter this week to empathize with the wayward actor.
"I Waited In Line Today On Beverly Blvd To See @thecampaignbook I Never Got See Him But I Had A Very Important Message To Deliver," Smith tweeted. "I'm Here If You Need A Fellow Insane Person To Talk To. But I'm Seriously Here Not Like One Of Those I'm Here For You's That Everybody Says."
"It Was A Message That Only Could Be Understood Artist To Artist. @thecampaignbook I'm Here For You I Believe In What Your Doing," Smith continued.
[New York Times]