CULVER CITY, California — Heard any good rumors lately?
“I, Robot” actor Shia LaBeouf has one that he says takes the cake — that he’s recently been cast as Indiana Jones’ son in the blockbuster franchise’s next installment (see ” ’Transformers’ Star Shia LaBeouf Might Play Indiana Jones’ Son” ). While dismissing the pervasive rumor, Shia told MTV News why, as a fan, he wishes Indiana didn’t even have a son at all (he thinks a daughter would work better), what geeks him out most about his role in the upcoming “Transformers” movie, and how “Surf’s Up” differs from every other animated movie ever made.
MTV: Variety reported that you’re going to play Indiana Jones’ son in the series’ next flick.
Shia LaBeouf: It’s a rumor, you know. It’s a fun rumor, and I hope it comes true. I don’t have a deal on the table, I haven’t signed up for anything, I haven’t signed a piece of paper, and as an actor, you hear those kinds of things all the time. I think part of the rumor comes from the fact that my last two movies have been [executive produced by “Jones” director Steven] Spielberg, but before me, they were saying Hayden Christenson was going to be that guy, and then [before that] they were going to have a daughter who was Natalie Portman. I’m game. I’d love to. But at this point, it’s just a rumor that’s been blown into a whole different stratosphere.
MTV: Purely as a film lover, what would it mean to be involved in a project like “Indiana Jones”?
LaBeouf: Dude, anybody, not just an actor, but anybody on this planet would love to be in “Indiana Jones.” It’s one of those things that’s historical. If it happens, I think it would be amazing. I wish I knew more and was able to tell more. I don’t know where the script is, I don’t know if they’re shooting it. I know [“Jones” writer George] Lucas said something about it at the Rose Parade (see “George Lucas Talks Retirement, Brand-New Film, ’Indy 4,’ ’Star Wars’ “ ), where they were going to gear up. But what does gear up mean? They’ve been gearing up for 15 years! I have not been approached, I don’t have a contract, nobody’s explained the character to me. I know as much as you do. I’m on the blogs too — and I’m fueling it! “Yeah! He’s doing it!” But I’m not, so for me to report that I am would be insane.
MTV: A lot of it is wishful thinking.
MTV: Not even from your perspective, but from a fan’s perspective, because after “Last Crusade,” having a son seems like the next step for Indiana Jones.
LaBeouf: Right, but does it have to be a son? Wouldn’t it be cooler if it was a daughter? I think that the interaction between, like, let’s say it was Natalie Portman, and Harrison Ford having to deal with a woman. It could be fun to see him taking pointers from a woman. … As a film lover I’m saying that could be fun to watch. If it were a son, I don’t know if that would take away some of the spark of Indy. I would love to be a part of it, but I’m not yet.
LaBeouf: Yeah, yet. ’Cause you don’t know what’s happened. If a rumor’s gone this far. … I’m sure Spielberg’s read Variety.
MTV: Or seen you in “Transformers” (see “Michael Bay Divulges ’Transformers’ Details — And Word Of ’Bad Boys III’ “ ). What excites you about that project?
LaBeouf: I’ll just tell you straight up. We went to get our ratings, you know, and we’re a PG-13 movie. We filmed it that way. But [the Motion Picture Association of America ratings board] gave us an R for intensity. They said that people would have aneurysms in the theaters. That’s what they said. And so Spielberg went and fought the good fight, and we went back down to PG-13. But the pacing hasn’t changed. We’re still an intense movie that the MPAA is scared for us to release. I know “Spider-Man” had four set pieces, you know, big, spectacular scenes. We have 15. “Transformers” is Michael Bay at his best. I mean, if you can imagine the “Bad Boys II” chases, those car chases, the chase in “The Island” — insane sh– — and then you have those same cars that are in those chase scenes transforming into 40-foot robots and boxing on [Los Angeles freeway] the 405 at 80 miles per hour — you can’t even imagine the carnage.
MTV: Is that what fans are going to geek out over, you think? The destruction?
LaBeouf: You know, sh–’s gonna get destroyed, and I know people are waiting to see that. We also have the über-fans, as we call them, who are like, “Oh, you should have never veered away from [the original ’Transformers’ toys].” [But] you can’t have Megatron as a gun. You just can’t. You don’t fear him. ’Cause in order for Megatron to be scary, he’s got to operate on his own time with his own rules. In order for him to work in the [original] models, Starscream had to transport him, which makes Starscream the major villain, not Megatron. So we had to make Megatron into something else, [and] fans got upset about that. Some of the models, like the shield on Optimus, it would look weird if he was talking with a shield that was moving up and down, so we took that away. There are things that veer away, and fans hate us for it. [But] you know, nobody thought about seeing this in live action, so when you translate it, you have to change a few things.
MTV: Your next project, “Surf’s Up,” is an animated film shot like a documentary, which is fairly courageous.
LaBeouf: Completely. It’s stretching the medium. “[This Is] Spinal Tap” has never been done in animation, this mockumentary style — the confessionals, speaking to the audience. I always thought that animation couldn’t be more than shticky … [but] this is completely different. We could fall flat on our face. People might show up at the theater and say, “Ah, I want to see a penguin to fall off a building.” [But] we didn’t make it for the audience that went to see “Happy Feet” or went to see “Toy Story.” We’re making this for people who want more out of animation.
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