franco, labeouf

He’s an actor, director, screenwriter, producer, artist, and now Hollywood mental health expert. Is there anything James Franco can’t do?

Or maybe we should be asking, is there anything James Franco can do well?

“Jack of all trades. Master of none” may be the Franco curse. But that isn’t enough to stop this devilishly handsome Columbia University graduate from commenting on Shia LaBeouf’s recent antics. The younger star’s biggest cry for help may have been earlier this month in Berlin when he showed up at the premiere of his movie, Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, wearing a brown paper bag over his head with “I am not famous anymore” written on it in black permanent marker. If you didn’t wonder what was going on with Shia before, that did the job.

On Wednesday night, The New York Times published Franco’s empathetic essay, in which he recaps Shia’s string of very publically confusing behavior and offers his expert analysis: Shia is lashing out.

Mr. and Mrs. LaBeouf, there’s no need to worry. Your son is just “lashing out.”

Franco references Joaquin Phoenix AND Marlon Brando to illustrate a) that he is quite the Renaissance man — so cultured and insightful — not just a pretty face, and b) how common “lashing out” really is in Hollywood. He describes it as an actor’s attempt to regain control of his true self and public persona. In Shia’s case, he is making the transition from young man to adult. From what Dr. Franco has seen, that’s the most common time for these episodes to occur.

So no need to worry yet, Shia fans. He’s not headed for the wrecking ball with Miley Cyrus just yet.

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