Shia LaBeouf has been considered one of the best actors of his generation, but his antics away from the camera have landed him on the negative side of the press more often than not. In a stirring cover story profile with Esquire, the 31-year-old actor confronts his demons in a real way and reveals his curious connection to Kanye West.
Over the past couple of years, LaBeouf’s style, a mix of military, athleisure, and (mostly) normcore—what he calls “blue collar”—has become a fixation among men’s-wear enthusiasts. Kanye West, for one, is a fan: In a “No More Parties in L. A.” outtake, he raps, “I wish I dressed as fresh as Shia LaBeouf.” When Kanye went to LaBeouf’s house to discuss possible art collaborations, he asked if he could have some of his clothes for a pop-up shop. “Around the same time, I took my mother to his concert,” LaBeouf tells me. “She is, of course, obsessed with Kanye West. When I brought her backstage, he was a f*cking sweetheart to her. And it just felt fair. So I’m like, ‘Go for it, my guy. Take everything you want.’ And he did. He took all my f*cking clothes. Me and him haven’t really been in contact since he blew up onstage and, you know, sh*t on me.”
While that part of the profile makes sense of Hip-Hop audiences and fans of West, the profile takes some seriously dark turns as LaBeouf recounts his struggles with alcohol, that racist rant he went on, witnessing the rape of his mother, and what he calls PTSD over what he’s endured over the years.
There is some silver lining as LaBeouf is gearing up to star in the upcoming role of hot-headed tennis legend John McEnroe for the film Borg vs. McEnroe, revealing in the chat that he doesn’t enjoy the sport.
Read the full profile here.