James Franco Empathizes with Shia LaBeouf

Feb 20, 2014 12:18pm

James Franco has been known to make some questionable choices during his career, from joining “General Hospital” to hosting the Oscars alongside Anne Hathaway, which may explain why he feels empathy for Shia LaBeouf, who has made headlines for recent bizarre behavior.

In a New York Times op-ed piece posted online Wednesday, Franco wrote, “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.”

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“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, 35, wrote.

Franco compared LaBeouf’s antics, which include allegedly plagiarizing graphic novelist Daniel Clowes’ work, wearing a paper bag with the words “I’m not famous anymore” at a red carpet premiere and staging an art show called “#IAmSorry,” to Marlon Brando, Joaquin Phoenix and even himself, writing, “At times I have felt the need to dissociate myself from my work and public image.”

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But he added a note of caution to the 27-year-old actor.

“I think Mr. LaBeouf’s project, if it is a project, is a worthy one,” Franco wrote. “I just hope that he is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist.

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Gabriel Olsen, Anita Bugge/Getty Images

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