The Time I Met Shia LaBeouf

So I’ve kept most of my obsessions somewhat contained on this blog, and I do this by writing about a pretty narrow set of topics – reading and sometimes running. But last week something happened that feels big enough to share with the world, so I’m going to write about it. I met Shia LaBeouf.luh

I knew I moved to New York for a reason, and that reason became clear on November 12, when I looked into the eyes of Shia LaBeouf for the first time.

I’m being annoying so let’s backtrack. It’s hard for me to go a long time without talking about Shia LaBeouf, and I think that everyone I know knows about my love for him. It’s like I can’t even control it, if we’ve spoken more than three times, then you’ve probably heard about my deeply-felt connection with Shia.

When a recent friend texted me the other night with a link to an article about a performance art piece that Shia was doing (for free) (in the city where I now live) I was able to really appreciate this particular lack of filter.

Shia collaborated with Luke Turner and Nastja Sade Rönkkö of NewHive for this performance piece where he sat in a 50-seat theater at the Angelika Film Center for 72 hours and watched all of his movies in reverse chronological order.

So, naturally I woke up at 4:30am last Wednesday to wait in line and hopefully get in before my internship at 11. I figured I’d have plenty of time, maybe I’d catch a free movie and a half, and it would be like mine and Shia’s first date. Then I planned to head back after my internship to spend the night at the theater, watch some more movies, spend some more quality time, date #2, check. Literally all things (but mostly sleep) took a backseat to this event.

I arrived at this theater around 6am Wednesday morning to find a line – it felt long at the time, but it was nothing compared to the line I joined when I went back later that night. Anyway, I had my book(s), I had comfortable shoes on, I was good to go.

I waited and waited and waited and moved very slowly; they had this Disney-style line going where it snakes around and around to trick you into thinking it’s shorter than it is. I finally realized that I wasn’t going to make it in the theater before my internship. I considered calling in sick for like half a second, then I pulled myself together and went to work. I’d be back.

So I headed back to the theater after a day of interning and working to find a line outside the door and to the next city block. I was only slightly discouraged. I knew that I had 14 hours to spare before I had another real-world obligation, and I was sure this line couldn’t last 14 hours.

It did. I seriously formed meaningful relationships with the people in line around me, because only they would understand the insanity that is standing in line, forgoing sleep and comfort and peace and food options, all to sit in a theater to watch movies starring the actor who was watching those movies with you… who does that? We did that. We were referring to each other as our “line fam” by the end. We’re friends on Facebook now.

And it actually was worth it. When my time finally came 14 hours later, I didn’t smell great and I was so tired that I couldn’t process words that people were speaking to me, but I walked into that theater. I stood in the back shaking like a leaf while I watched the back of Shia’s head. The Even Stevens Movie had just started, so I felt awkward interrupting, but my lack of sleep helped removed any inhibitions or social proprieties I normally would have honored.

I walked down the aisle, squatted next to Shia LaBeouf, reached out for his shoulder initially to just get his attention but then accidentally clutched it as I sort of fell into my squatting position (I was really, really shaking), and I told him how much I love his work and I thanked him profusely for everything he has done (? what does that even mean?)

And he was LOOKING AT ME in the EYES and he SMILED and said “thanks for saying that, thank you for coming.” And that washia shia shia shias it. I ran out of there, still shaking and sweating and crying. A combined 18 hours for that one interaction.

I would do it all again in a heartbeat. ◊

Us. Two letters, whole world.”

— Shia LaBeouf, Charlie Countryman

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