He's an actor that's faced a lot of criticism for his unconventional methods — like appearing with a bag over his head in a Los Angeles art installation, or wanting to simulate real sex for his role in Nymphomaniac . But Shia LaBeouf, who got his start in comedy at a young age in Disney Channel's Even Stevens , wants you to know his deep passion for his craft. "That's my soul up there. That's all I have to offer you, right? It's my soul," the 29-year-old actor says. "You do take it home, at least when you're working on it, then you try to shake it and get on some other train of thought when you get out. But yeah, that's me up there. All I do for a living is open up and let you look."
LaBeouf's latest role takes him inside the mind of a U.S. war vet struggling to hold onto his sanity in Man Down. While the film certainly commentates on the way veterans are treated, it's more of a story about family than anything else. "I just thought it was a really compelling story. More about [being] a father than a soldier, the solider stuff was sidebar... It was less of a priority than the family stuff. The father/son stuff reminded me of Kramer vs. Kramer. That's my favorite movie," the Fury star says. "The world is in a tough spot. It's like World War 3 right? We're in the middle of something really wild right now."
On set, LaBeouf found a father figure of his own in co-star Gary Oldman. "Gary's my friend now. He's a father figure for me. He's a tender, sweet man. That's not to naysay the hard Gary, there's a hard Gary. But he's not hard with me. He's not shy about throwing love around. He's in my corner," LaBeouf says, offering a large grin.
In the film, LaBeouf plays a father to 6-year-old newcomer Charlie Shotwell, who he admits he had an instant affinity for. "He's my boy, I love him. We've still got a little tribe. He's a brilliant actor — open and willing," he gushes. But when asked what advice he'd give the young actor, being a child star himself, LaBeouf gives a hearty laugh and pauses: "I have no advice for Charlie."
Man Down, which co-stars Kate Mara and premiered at Toronto International Film Festival on Tuesday night, doesn't yet have a release date.