Shia LaBeouf Calls Marilyn Manson Video ‘A Cool Diversion’

Unlikely duo will celebrate 'Born Villain' short film with book signing and screening Thursday in L.A.

File this story under the most surprising of pairings: “Transformers” superstar Shia LaBeouf and [artist id="1234"]Marilyn Manson[/artist] have teamed up for Manson’s new music video, “Born Villain.”

So how did these two artists come together? Well, they met at a Kills concert, where LaBeouf, a longtime Manson fan, casually approached the “Beautiful People” singer and struck up a conversation that sparked a genuine friendship.

“Marilyn Manson to me is an indelible figure,” LaBeouf told MTV News, speaking exclusively about the collaboration for the first time. “He’s a big deal to me, and in my childhood, I don’t know of a scarier figure in art. He, in my teenage years, was the scariest thing in the world, so part of me has always been intrigued.”

LaBeouf told Manson that he would love to direct his next video and showed him his previous work, Cage’s “Maniac” clip , as proof that he knows what he’s doing behind the camera.

“I played ‘Maniac’ for [Manson], and he freaked the f— out,” LaBeouf recalled. “Manson goes crazy. Manson’s like, ‘I want you to do my video.’ ”

The two then began prep work on “Born Villain,” which draws heavily from very intense, graphic imagery, specifically a famous French surrealist short film, Shakespeare and theology.

“The song has all these references to ‘Macbeth’ and all this Shakespeare and heavy theology, so we tried to make Manson’s ‘Un Chien Andalou’ macabre ‘Macbeth’ — that’s sort of what that became.”

To celebrate the LaBeouf-directed video, which is much more short film than standard clip, LaBeouf and Manson will be appearing together at a one-time-only book signing and screening Thursday at Hennessey + Ingalls bookstore in Los Angeles from 8 to 10 p.m. The 18-and-up event is private and limited to 150 attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to receive tickets, those who wish to attend must purchase the limited-edition “Born Villain” photo book at the Hennessey + Ingalls website, which also comes with a copy of the short film.

Unsurprisingly, the imagery in the video is very graphic and very adult. Those who only know LaBeouf from his clean-cut film roles will likely be shocked by this directorial effort, but LaBeouf isn’t worried about those reactions.

“This, for me, this is a really cool diversion for me when I’m not making a movie,” LaBeouf explained. “It gives me an opportunity to work with musicians I admire who I would otherwise never get to work with in any other capacity. I really have a fun time doing it. It allows me to be creative in another art form and work with heroes.

“I also think there are fans of mine who aren’t fans of Manson’s and vice versa; that’s why I think our collaboration is interesting. I don’t really see it on paper,” he continued. “I don’t see fans of mine who went to see ‘Holes’ when they were 12 loving this. I don’t think my audience is the only thing I should exercise my artistic muscle for. I don’t necessarily always do things for the audience; this is one of those.

“I love Marilyn,” LaBeouf said. “Manson is like a brother to me now. He’s a real sweet dude, a real close friend.”