PARK CITY, Utah — Shia LaBeouf opens his new film with his face bloodied after a serious beating, dangling by one foot over a dam.
And it’s not all acting in The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, which premiered Monday at the Sundance Film Festival.
LaBeouf, 26, insisted on taking some real blows and actually hanging from one foot over the dam in Bucharest, Romania, for the pain-filled part. He says he had to go for the foot-hanging bit and listen to his Romanian stunt coordinator.
“The guy says to me, ‘Listen, the danger isn’t really falling into the water. You might hurt yourself, but you’ll survive that. But if you swing into (a neon light in the scene), there’s no way you’re going to survive that. So don’t swing too much.’ “.
LaBeouf, who has worked with blue-chip stunt teams on projects such as Transformers, says it was a leap of faith with his eastern European colleagues.
“You have to look them in the eye and trust them completely, like you would on a Transformers set,” he says. “But it’s a very different group with communication issues. Not everyone even speaks English.”.
In Charlie Countryman, LaBeouf plays an American traveler who visits Bucharest and falls hard for the girlfriend (Evan Rachel Wood) of a local mob boss. LaBeouf refers to it as (Dustin Hoffman’s) The Graduate with blood in his mouth and a broken nose.”.
With severe beatings at the hands of local thugs, LaBeouf’s character shows that true love hurts. Big-time. First-time director Fredrik Bond says that LaBeouf took punches for real to make the scenes appear authentic.
In one close-up, LaBeouf insisted on having his head slammed into a stone wall.
“That was for real,” says Bond. “I said that I don’t think we should do this, we need your head for the rest of the movie. But Shia said he had to it.”.
Bond said he put a thin padding on the point of contact. “But that only did so much. “There was one take. One slam. I didn’t even watch the monitor. I just asked my (director of photography) if we got it. Shia was hurting. But he was very happy.”.
LaBeouf says he and Bond had an emotional bond on the set. “We had fights. It was a heavy movie to make. He’s asking me to do wild things.”.
But the actor, who has worked with the likes of Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone, says he enjoyed the collaboration.
“I have had relationships with directors where it was reverence to the point of fear. That kills collaboration. This felt like a friendship.”.
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