Shia LaBeouf Was ‘Desperate To Prove Himself’ After Starring in ‘Transformers’

Shia LaBeouf has been in the public eye for most of his life. Having been cast into fame as a child star, he quickly worked his way up in the movie business and landed roles in blockbuster films such as Transformers.

Yet, despite all of the fame and success that came with the Transformers franchise, LaBeouf didn’t feel validated as an actor. Standing next to the greats in the industry always made him insecure, which led to him developing unusual habits to prepare for his roles and build confidence. 

Shia LaBeouf was insecure as a young actor 

Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf and his ‘Transformers’ co-stars | by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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LaBeouf had a hard time adjusting to the fame and profile he’d gained after starring in the billion-dollar Transformers franchise. In his opinion, the roles had placed him into a box where he wasn’t taken seriously as an actor. He shared his struggles with insecurity during a 2019 interview with MTV News.

“If you had talked to that kid, I was 23, 24,” LaBeouf said. “I was a scared actor who thought he was s–t. The world thought I was s–t. It was sort of like, ‘Hey, he’s the Transformers kid trying to be a real actor over here.’

Despite his insecurity, LaBeouf pushed forward with his career, determined to show he had real talent. 

“So I was bucking against my insecurity, I was desperate to prove myself,” LaBeouf said. “I’d be in the face of Mads Mikkelsen, having just watched Valhalla Rising, thinking like, ‘I’m not s–t to this man.’”

He felt insignificant in the presence of seasoned actors 

LaBeouf’s insecurity only increased as he rose in the ranks of the movie business. As he began to work on more films and meet some of Hollywood’s most esteemed actors, he struggled to find confidence in himself. 

“That’s me trying to find my confidence,” LaBeouf said. “Not even my skillset, just my confidence. In the same way that Even Stevens gave me a confidence in front of the lens, when you get in front of real G’s, when you start meeting the Michael Jordans, the people you look up to. Gary Oldmans, Mads Mikkelsens, Tom Hardys, you start getting in front of these people, insecurity washes like a wave.”

In LaBeouf’s opinion, until a creative person has confidence in themselves, they’ll never be able to stand next to a savant and feel worthy. 

“Unless you have a real confidence in your own craft, you can’t meet a God as a human,” LaBeouf said. “They’ll just eat you. So you gotta find the God in you. And I’ve worked my way into a confidence level that allows me to see eye to eye with pretty much everybody at this point, except for a couple of the names we mentioned.” 

Shia LaBeouf went to extreme lengths to prepare for roles

LaBeouf has been well-documented for going above and beyond to prepare for his roles. He shaved down a tooth for his role in Fury and got real tattoos for his role in The Tax Collector, taking method acting to an entirely new level. He credited his process to his lack of formal training.

“Just a young actor trying to find his way, right?” LaBeouf said. “Again, I never went to Strasburg, Stanislavski, nothing. I just sort of read stories about the people that I loved and tried to mimic that.”