Berlin: Shia LaBeouf Storms out of 'Nymphomaniac' Press Conference

6:22 AM PST 02/09/2014 by Rebecca Ford, Pamela McClintock
Shia LaBeouf at the Berlinale press conference

UPDATED: The actor, in town to promote Lars von Trier's film, answered only one question by saying: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."

BERLIN -- Shia LaBeouf stormed out of a press conference for Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac Sunday after answering one question.

About 10 minutes into the press conference, LaBeouf -- who is missing a lower bottom tooth -- was asked his first question, which was about doing a movie with so many sex scenes.

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He slowly and deliberately said: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.”

The rest of the panelists in attendance -- including stars Christian Slater, Stacy Martin, Stellan Skarsgard, Uma Thurman and producer Louise Vesth -- looked stunned for a moment before lightly applauding while LaBeouf quickly exited.

After the crowded room settled down from LaBeouf's surprise exit, Slater threw in a little joke for his next answer to lighten the mood: "Obviously, the script is packed with a lot of sardines ... one sardine after another."

The troubled actor's bizarre behavior started Saturday night when three young men tried to snap a picture of him at the lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, only to have LaBeouf lunge toward them.

Several acquaintances of LaBeouf quickly intervened and defused the situation. But there’s little anyone can do to control LeBeouf, whose bizarre antics and statements, including declaring that he’s retiring from public life, don’t appear to be any closer to ending.

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He’s in Berlin for the world premiere of Nymphomaniac,Volume 1, and his unkempt appearance caught many of those at the Ritz off guard. Turns out the actor shaved down his tooth for Fury, David Ayer’s World War II pic that also stars Brad Pitt and recently wrapped shooting. It seems LaBeouf wanted to better replicate life on the front lines. He’s also noticeably thinner.

Last month, he got into a bar fight at a London pub, for which he quickly apologized.

The "seagulls" line is a quote from French soccer legend Eric Cantona. He issued the statement after he was convicted of assault. LaBeouf was clearly imitating the athlete, who also stormed out of his press conference after saying the odd statement back in 1995.

LaBeouf has developed a reputation for tweeting famous apologies from other celebrities after he plagiarized an apology to apologize for plagiarizing comic Daniel Clowes for his short film HowardCantour.com.

Much of the rest of the press conference was spent talking about von Trier and what it's like to work with the controversial director. Von Trier, wearing a Cannes T-shirt with the words "persona non grata" on it, attended the photocall but did not stay for the press conference. The director took a "vow of silence" after his controversial Nazi comments at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.

Thurman, who has a lengthy monologue in Nymphomaniac, says that each take on set was very long, often averaging 25 minutes.

"Lars wrote this really basically fantastic monologue," she said. "It was a really great challenge to memorize seven pages of Lars’ female diatribe of rage."

She added: "Lars kept saying I was overacting, but that’s nothing new."

While it was Thurman's first time working with von Trier, Skarsgard has collaborated with him before on five other films: The Kingdom, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville and Melancholia.

"When you work with Lars, you just try things and you do whatever you want," said Skarsgard. "He’s a very funny man. You’ve got to learn to laugh at him a lot more."

E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford

Email: pamela.mcclintock@thr.com
Twitter: @PamelaDayM

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