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vol 4 - issue 05 (jan 2002) :: interviews
SHIA LaBEOUF
interview by bethany shady
illustration by debbie

PEOPLE WHO CAN AFFORD CABLE KNOW HIM AS THE STAR OF DISNEY'S EVEN STEVENS. WE AT TASTES LIKE CHICKEN KNOW HIM SIMPLY AS "THE LITTLE BUDDHA OF COMEDY". JOIN US NOW AS OUR OWN LITTLE BUDDHA, BETHANY SHADY, RUBS BELLIES AND AARON CARTERS WITH THE ONE AND ONLY SHIA LABEOUF.

Shia: Whatís up, Beth? How you liviní?

bethany: Good. Wow, your voice is really low.

S: I know. It dropped when I was in school this morning.

b: So, Iím with a paper called tastes like chicken--

S: Is it dope as hell?

b: Yeah. Itís awesome.

S: Cool.

b: Itís weird hearing you talk like that, because I only see you on TV and you're so little and "Disney-ish".

S: Oh, right. I know. Sorry. Iíll do my "Disney" voice.

b: No, no. I like this better.

S: Alright.

b: Alright. By law I have to let you know that youíre being recorded, so they donít try and come and get me or something.

S: Cool.

b: How did you get started? I hear you went to places around your neighborhood, like coffee clubs.

S: Yeah. I was doing stand-up comedy.

b: What kind of material did you use?

S: Oh, I used to talk about how I got my first boner, or--

b: Oh my gosh!

Nicole (Shia's agent, who is listening in on the interview): SHIA!

S: Iím sorry. Iím not gonna lie to you because Iím on Disney. For crying out loud! But yeah, that was what my comedy was about.

b: Right on. Where did you go and what was the reaction of the crowd?

S: I did stuff at the Ice House and the crowd was really having fun. The crowd was wild because they didnít expect me to come out and say "boner", ya know? They were freakin' out. They were like, "What in Godís name?"

N: SHIA!

b: How old were you?

S: Like eight or nine. Something like that. It was pretty cool. (laughs) Iím sorry.

b: Youíre kind of getting a little yelled at there.

S: Yeah, I know. Itís fun. Iím not gonna really get in trouble.

N: You wanna make a bet?

S: (laughing) Alright.

b: I read somewhere that your dad was in the circus and that he was a chicken trainer.

S: Yeah. (laughs)

b: We at tastes like chicken got very excited about that. Is this true?

S: This is SO true. My dad had three chickens. He used to live in an RV and he devoted his whole life to a chicken named Henrietta. I swear. He was in the circus. He used to run around and light himself or rings on fire and the chicken would run through it. Or heíd put the chicken on his head and do a flip and the chicken would run from his head to his ass. It was pretty funny.

b: Does the love of chickens run through your blood as well?

S: I love chicken.

b: Do you put ketchup on your chicken?

S: Yes, I do.

b: You do?

S: Yes. Thatís the best.

b: Oh baby, that sounds so good. Okay, who would win in a pie eating contest: Tony Hawk or Andy Irons?

S: Uh, Aaron Carter.

b: Aaron Carter?

S: Yeah, heíd kick both their anuses. Theyíd be so screwed.

b: Aaron Carter the singer?

S: Yeah, he loves fruit pies anyway, because heís a big fruit pie.

N: SHIA!

S: Iím sorry. (laughing)

b: Youíre bad!

S: I know, Iím getting in trouble again. Can you send me a copy of this when you publish it?

b: Iím gonna send you one.

S: Alright.

b: Weíre not done yet, though, so calm down.

S: Alright. I like it so far.

b: Are you on your lunch?

S: No. Actually, this is my way of getting out of school. So you can ask as many questions as you like.

b: So, youíre into making your own short films?

S: Yeah.

b: What are they about?

S: Me and AJ, who plays Twitty on Even Stevens, used to make a lot of films together. We made one called The Albino Pimp Daddy about this dude whoís got an afro. But itís hard for him to be a true pimp because he only has a white afro. My friend Jack and I also made a film called Polio Lobster about this kid whose parents are allergic to cats and dogs, so they buy him a lobster. But the lobster gets polio. It was bad. We bought a dead lobster and tied a string around its neck and dragged him down the street.

b: Are you serious?

S: Yeah, it was pretty weird.

b: Animal cruelty.

S: I know. Iím sorry. (laughing)

b: So are you still making films? I hear you want to direct.

S: Yeah, well Iím trying to do this thing now and get paid so I can buy a car and a house. But when I get settled, Iím gonna start working on my directing thing. Right now itís sorta on pause because Iím trying to finish this Disney thing up and move on to other stuff.

b: How busy are you with the show?

S: Iím so busy. Iím here five days a week. I work nine hours a day and then I have to go home and do four hours of homework. I also audition for other stuff and read other kinds of scripts. Itís pretty trying.

b: What have you been auditioning for?

S: The last thing I did is for this movie thatís gonna come out. Itís drama though. I donít know if you guys like drama, but you can make fun of me trying to be dramatic. Thereís another one Iím doing, just because my dadís a hippie. Itís called Gene in Ď68.

b: Your dadís a total hippie?

S: My dadís a complete hippie. Who else trains chickens?

b: Whereís your family from?

S: All over the place. My dadís Cajun and my momís Jewish. So you can understand how weird our freakiní Thanksgivings were: Matzo ball gumbo and all kinds of weird stuff.

b: I know you surf a lot. Are you into skating as well?

S: I used to be into skating. I used to be WAY into dirt biking, but I hurt my knee so I had to stop. Plus the show wouldnít let me dirt bike, but I did anyway. But surfing is cool because the producers and everybody on set surfs, so surfing has become more of an interest rather than dirt biking and skating. Plus, when you sweat or fart when youíre surfing, itís no big deal.

b: So with all the surfing you do, have you ever had a limb bitten off by a shark?

S: Youíd be surprised. (laughing) No, I havenít. Iíve seen a couple of sharks. I had my foot brushed by a big turtle once. I also saw a chicken in the water. It was very strange. He was just hanginí out.

b: Really?

S: No, thatís complete bullcrap.

b: Do you ever help write any of the episodes of Even Stevens?

S: Iíve come up with a couple ideas. But when you come up with ideas you never take credit for it because itís not your job. So thereís no proof that I came up with all these ideas, so I could say I wrote the whole show. I came up with everything. I could say I came up with Temptation Island and you couldnít prove it. So, yeah, I made Temptation Island.

b: Weíll print that so that everyone knows you came up with it.

S: Yeah. I came up with the idea.

b: If you were to be able to write and direct an episode, what would the storyline be?

S: Probably just Louis in a hot tub for 30 minutes.

b: With a bunch of chicks around him?

S: With a bunch of chicks and some chicken tenders. Thereís 30 minutes of show for you.

b: tastes like chicken loves the show--

S: --Rock!

b: We think itís hilarious. The episode where we were introduced to ďBeansĒ (played by Steven Anthony Lawrence) was amazing and life-changing for all of us.

S: Yeah, ďBeansĒ is a good guy.

b: We want to know if weíre going to see more of him.

S: For sure. We canít get enough of him. He shows up on set with shirts with ďWhoop AssĒ printed on them. Steven is the coolest kid in the world. You know what he does? He likes to fart on peopleís necks.

b: He likes to fart on peopleís necks?

S: I swear on my life. He farted on my neck when we were shooting.

b: (laughing) Oh my God.

S: It was a life-changing experience for me as well.

b: Iím trying to decide how much of this is true, and how much you're just pulling out of your ass.

S: I swear he did fart on my neck. The only thing I pulled out of my ass was the Temptation Island thing,.. and the chicken in the water. But everything else is completely true.

b: Who do you think would make a better pet: a llama or Don Knotts?

S: Aaron Carter.

b: Is he your best friend or something?

S: I love him. Every interview I do from now on, itís all about Aaron Carter. Itís the publicity. He pays me.

b: Well, which do you think would be a softer pet between a llama and Don Knotts?

S: If I knew who Don Knotts was, then I could say. But Knotts is pretty close to nuts, which is cool. Iíve never heard of Don Knotts, but his last nameís rockiní, so Iíd have to go with him.

b: He was from Threeís Company. He played Mr. Furley.

S: I donít know what Threeís Company is.

b: What year were you born?

S: Freakiní Ď82.

b: No you werenít! You were born in Ď86.

BOTH: (laughing)

b: Because youíre so busy, do you feel like youíre kinda missing out on things that a normal teenager would do?

S: Well, the only thing Iím really missing out on is prom and stuff like that. So, Iím not gonna be able to say, ďYeah, I lost my virginity at prom.Ē Instead itíll be like, ďYeah, I lost my virginity on the set of Threeís Company back in Ď85.Ē But it wonít be as cool.

b: So you donít go to a regular school?

S: No, I just have a teacher and then there are three other kids with me.

b: Are they all from the set?

S: Yeah. Everybodyís from the set. Itís pretty boring school-wise, but we make up for it because all the adults here are really cool to us. We have fun.

b: Is there a lot of improv on the set?

S: Tons. You would not believe how much. We analyze the script with our line coach and if we donít like a line itíll just be changed and weíll come up with a new one. Or weíll be on set, and weíll see something funny like a funny prop, or like a chicken or something, and weíll throw it in. You know what Iím saying? Big props to chicken eaters everywhere.

b: It seems like itís really natural.

S: Exactly. Itís pure ad lib, thatís what itís about. I heard that Lizzie Maguire (another Disney Channel show) does it a lot, too. Especially in the Aaron Carter episodes. He ad libs a whole lot I heard.

b: Man, youíre just loving Aaron Carter.

S: I love him!

b: Do you hang out with him all the time?

S: Oh yeah, for sure.

b: Whatís life like in LA?

S: Itís cool. I mean, everything I want to do is here. Girls and surf.

b: In your opinion, do dogs have lips?

S: Yes. My dog has lips. I think they have lips because when I always chill with my dog, I always mess with the lip. You know, when you suck on the bottom lip of the dog. I know everybody does it. Donít deny it, people.

b: I have to admit, I do it.

S: Well, then you know they have lips, and theyíre very tender and they have a lemon essence.

BOTH: (laughing)

b: So you have a dog, obviously.

S: Heck yeah. Itís an Australian Shephard. His nameís Rex. Sounds tough, right?

b: Yeah.

S: Heís not tough at all.

b: But does he get the ladies?

S: Heck yeah, my dogís a pimp. My dogís a big playa. Regulator. Watch out, heís big time. Heís got a little gold chain like heís DMX.

b: Where do Shia and Louis intersect when it comes to things in common?

S: We both have a crush on Tawny.

b: Sheís a babe.

S: Yeah, sheís a sexy one, right? Um, letís see. Well I donít dress like Louis for sure. I donít like his style. And we both live in the United States. Thatís about it. Oh, and heís a goof and Iím a goof.

b: So what about college for you?

S: Iím gonna go. But I donít know where I want to go.

b: You want to go for directing?

S: Well, Iím learning everything I need to know about directing right now. Itíd be useless to go to film school. Theyíd just tell me to go be a PA on set. So maybe Iíll major in psychology.

b: What makes you want to get into that?

S: Because I think it helps your acting. And I just want to go to college and drink beer and stuff. So if psychology fits into that, then Iím up for it.

b: Whatís with all the fondue references in the show?

S: Fondue is a big deal on set. You guys like chicken, our writers like fondue. Thatís just how it is. Nobody can explain it.

b: Whatís your favorite ride at Disneyland?

S: Space Mountain.

b: Space Mountain? Right on. What about Indiana Jones though?

S: Oh, thatís poop. It just doesnít seem like a ride. It seems like Iím in a 3-D movie or something.

b: How often do you get to Disneyland?

S: Once every decade. I donít like Disneyland. I like Six Flags. But, oh wait, I work for Disney. Nevermind. Every time I get a break, Iím over there. Theyíve got the best corn dogs in the world.

b: Would you ever want to host SNL?

S: Heck yeah. Thatís my dream. Saturday Night Live is awesome. Ever since my friend Jack and I started doing stand-up, thatís all weíve ever wanted to do.

b: Okay, well, I think thatís all the questions I have.

S: Can I ask you some questions about tastes like chicken?

b: Sure.

S: Is it like Maxim or something? Or like Mad?

b: Itís kind of hard to explain. Itís not really like Mad, but itís a humor paper.

S: Itís for college kids though, right?

b: Mostly, yeah.

S: Alright cool. Iím glad I didnít just swear all over Disney Magazine or something like that.

b: Oh no. Itís definitely kind of raw.

S: Cool. Thatís what I was thinking when you called. I was like "Alright. Iím just going to be real."

b: We definitely want people to be real. Because why would I want to call you and ask you--

S: HOOK IT UP!

b: --stupid shit.

S: Well, thank you for this interview.

b: No problem. Thank you.

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