“Acting is instinctual. The good actors are all screwed up. They’re all in pain. It’s a profession of bottom-feeders and heartbroken people.”
Being the Hollywood cynic that I am, Mr. LeBeouf’s words caught my attention. Due to my own experiences in this town, I tend to see the “industry” as something like an open-air-desert sanatorium with out of control egos, vindictiveness, a desire to please the lowest-common-denominator and botox as the four major food groups.
In an interview with Parade, LeBeouf continues:
“Sometimes I feel I’m living a meaningless life and I get frightened.”
“I know I’m one of the luckiest dudes in America right now,” LaBeouf says. “I have a great house. My parents don’t have to work. I’ve got money. I’m famous. But it could all change, man. It could go away. You never know.”
“Actors live dependent on being validated by other people’s opinions,” he explains. “I don’t understand what it is I do that people want. I don’t know what an actor does. I have no credentials. I don’t know what I’m doing. To my mind, talent doesn’t really exist. Talent is like a card player’s luck. It is motivation, ambition, and luck. It’s just a drive to be the best. I think acting is a con game.”
“I don’t give a damn about the money anymore,” LaBeouf says. “I used to. Money is the reason I became an actor.”
LeBeouf talks about dressing up as a clown as a kid to help with his father’s push-cart business:
“It was a hustle. We’d walk around the neighborhood in full clown regalia. My embarrassment factor didn’t exist… I’m still doing the same hustle now. The only change is that, instead of my dad selling hot dogs from the cart, it’s Steven Spielberg selling the hot dogs.”
Well, I guess it helps me to remember that success is a state-of mind. And, while so many are striving to find success in this town and in this industry, it means nothing if you don’t follow your heart and end up doing what you want the way you want. Achieving the envy of others is meaningless. Even achieving a goal you thought you wanted only to discover it isn’t what you thought it was… Stay true to yourself in all things. It’s the only true path to success.