Buzz Uncut: Meet Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf

She’s a 34C. No I’d say she was a 32C.


I dunno. Why are you shouting at me?

SORRY. I had Caps Lock on.

Maybe it’s a push-up bra…

It’s safe to say Megan Fox has already garnered some attention. At least from web forums, where discourses like the above are common.

The 20-year-old actress is unimpressed.

“I’m not going to apologise for my looks. But there’s much more to me than that. As a female, selling your sexuality is just too easy.”

But Fox has encountered such male enthusiasm before she became an actress.

“I used to be a waitress and guys putting their hands in all the wrong places was a common part of my job. It’s no secret that diners hire hot girls as waitresses. It’s the same with acting. People want to see pretty people on the screen. It’s a fantasy world.”

And getting more fantastical for Fox, with the impending release of Transformers, her major screen debut and something of a leap from her last role, as teen nymph-in-training Sydney Shanowski in the US sitcom Hope And Faith.

“The difference was scary!” she giggles. “On my first day, I was lost. When I met [director] Michael Bay I had no idea who he was. I thought he was an actor or extra, he was so young-looking. I saw him getting his hair and make-up done, which you don’t expect a director to do. I guess he really cares about his looks!”

And her looks, by the sound of the audition, which proved remarkably unstrenuous.

“We walked and talked and he didn’t even ask me to do a read-through or anything. He took one look at me and said, ‘You got the part, I like your style, you have a look in your eyes, I love that.’”

That must have been some look...

“Well, he wanted a bad girl to lure Shia away from his goody-two-shoes ex, and that was me. My character seems unimportant at first but she puts the whole story in motion. Shia wants to impress me, so he buys the Camaro. The car turns out to be a robot and Shia gets involved in a huge war.” Although, once filming began, Fox discovered Bay wasn’t always as easy to impress.

“He just throws you in there and says ‘Do it’, you know? No stunt double. No nothing. I did all my own shit. It was hard at times, especially as he gets impatient sometimes and likes things to go on schedule. But me and Shia developed a bond. I mean, when you’re hanging off the edge of Mount Rushmore or jumping off a cliff and landing in someone’s arms, you have to trust them.”

Echo Park used to be the centre of the film industry, back in the silent era before a couple of World Wars and the studios’ mass exodus to Hollywood. More recently, it was home to Shia LaBeouf’s childhood. He too, was happy to move on.

“It’s why I got into acting,” he admits, kickstarting a catalogue of candour. “It was financial. I thought it would get me out of Echo Park.”

A decade later and the drug and gang-ridden locale of LaBeouf’s formative years seems a world away from the canapés and soft drinks of today’s chat.

“I didn’t grow up in a traditional home,” he understates, shifting slightly in his seat. “My dad was a drug dealer, my mom sold pins and brooches. We lived in the same room and I knew they would never make enough money for us to move out. You were an adult when you were seven. That’s just the way it was. Echo Park is not like a suburb where you play tetherball.”

Escape came through performance, firstly with a stand-up routine. Honed by the freakishly precocious age of ten.

“There was a club with open-mike competitions,” recalls LaBeouf. There was a rule that if you won three times, you would be booked into the main room. But there also was a state law that if a minor was working the club, they had to remove all the alcohol. So here I was, a 10-year-old taking the stage, and the waitresses were running around grabbing everyone’s drinks. And keep in mind that a lot of these guys weren’t there for the show; they’d come just to drink. Now, that was a tough audience. I was the kid with a bowl-cut and suspenders. My shtick at that time was the 50-year-old mouth on the 10-year-old kid.”

His age, his humour and his obscenities (which still creep into his speech, peppering his enthusiasm with a hint of his past) quickly garnered attention and soon he was opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams (“big deal shit”). So – as you do when you’ve turned 10 – he got himself an agent.

“I remember my dad saying, ‘I know you want to do this actor thing but I don’t want to be your pimp. I don’t want to be the Hollywood parent.’ You look at some of these kids that are in Hollywood and their parents are into it more than the kid is and it’s disturbing and it’s poisonous, whereas I got my agent through the Yellow Pages by myself. I wanted to provide for my family and I wanted to get the fuck out of Echo Park.”

Just months after getting an agent, LaBeouf had his first acting gig, the role of Louis Stevens in the Disney Channel sitcom Even Stevens. He went on to win a Daytime Emmy for the part. Not that acting honours were a consideration at the time...

“They told me I would be getting $8,000 a week!” he grins. “It was all greed. I mean, I didn’t really give a fuck about acting. It was like, my family’s in a situation, I want to get the fuck out of here. I want a PlayStation. And I also got to ditch school and do what I love, which was fuck around all day, like a clown, and I got all the material shit I wanted.”

It was only when LaBeouf met Jon Voight, on the set of the film Holes, that he found his vocation.

“Jon put me onto all these books and shit and actors I had never seen and told me what acting really was, aside from the materialistic world that I was trapped in. I swear to God if I had not met him I’d be making Christmas albums. It’d be all this Disney shit, I’d just be doing crap. He gave me books to read and films I maybe never would have watched. The Elephant Man, Papillon, Kramer Vs Kramer. The Michael Caine book [Acting In Film] on acting blew my life open. Just blew the doors wide open because he got rid of the pretension and just got down to basics.”

Constantine followed, plus a small role in I, Robot and his turn as the LSD-tripping Cooper in Bobby.

“The thing I’m most proud of is the diversity, that I can make A Guide To Recognising Your Saints and Transformers, or Bobby where you’re working with your superheroes. My Batman was Steve McQueen, my Robin was John Turturro. So to turn up to work and see him was... jarring. Nowadays, I try and make things I would like to watch.”

Which definitely includes Transformers…

“I’m stoked about it, not just ’cause I’m in it, but I’m a Transformers fan also, ’cause it’s almost like American folklore, this is what I grew up on. Star Wars was a bit early for me so I didn’t fall into the fanatical Star Wars thing. But Transformers was the male Barbie. I mean Transformers were at everyone’s house. For me, it was this and Yogi Bear, so you don’t want anyone to fuck this up and I understand how important it is.”

With the film still in post-production, LaBeouf hasn’t seen the final version yet but he’s cautiously optimistic. When Total Film tells him we’ve seen some of the footage and it seemed to have a pretty good Back To the Future vibe (with added Bayrific explosions of course) he nods seriously.

“I don’t wanna fuck with the Movie God, you know, ’cause I don’t know, but I’ve heard it’s very, very good, I’ll just put it that way. I’m biased ’cos I’m in the movie, so I’m not a third person, but I know the shit that I’ve seen that I’m not in, and I’m very judgemental and opinionated, but there’s a lot of shit that I’m not in, ’cos it’s the Transformers movie, you know, a bunch of robots, there’s shit that I’ve seen that blew my mind. It’s insane. You haven’t seen robots transforming on the 405 freeway at 80 miles per hour in a fist fight... It’s gonna be sick man, it’s gonna be nuts.

“Plus you don’t just have Michael Bay, you got Spielberg on his shoulder. I mean, they’re connected, they’re locked in. It is a Michael Bay fucking movie but Spielberg is a humongous Transformers fan, like huge.”

Spielberg, of course, looms large in LeBeouf’s future, with the rumours confirmed that the young actor has been signed up for Indy 4. Unsuprisingly, he has nothing but praise for the Beardy one.

“Spielberg’s a very warm person who understands that he’s an icon and doesn’t overwhelm you with it. He makes you feel like he’s the nervous one whenever you meet. Which is insane. And now, to be cast in an Indiana Jones film is like grabbing the brass ring and holding on for the ride. I’ll do my best to meet the high standards that Steven, George and Harrison have set.”

And presumably, Echo Park is now several lifetimes behind him.

“Well, actually I had to move twice. First I lived in a place called Tujunga, but then that’s got a big scene which is a whole weird thing, biker gangs and whatnot. So then I moved to the Equestrian Centre in Burbank. That’s where I live now. There’s horses that walk down my street. It’s a whole different type of life, man.”

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, New Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Jack Shepherd. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.