Where's LaBeouf? No Shia-nanigans in Cannes for 'American Honey' Star

Shia LaBeouf at Cannes - Getty - H 2016

The actor and performance artist descended on Cannes, but not in the manner many might have been expecting.

There’s always a considerable amount of anticipation ahead of any Shia LaBeouf event.

Will he storm out of a film’s press conference when asked about a central theme in said film (notably the sex in Nymphomaniac)? Will he wear a bag on his head on the red carpet? Will he sit in a room silently crying while members of the public shuffle past? Will he watch all of his films back-to-back over two days in a New York art house cinema? Will he “occupy” an elevator for 24 hours while chatting to Oxford University students?

For anyone working in the entertainment world (or anyone hoping for a quick spike in web traffic) LaBeouf has been a fairly reliable, bankable asset for the past few years. He goes, you go — ideally with a video camera and fully charged dictaphone.

So in a Cannes relatively free of wacky behavior (beyond the usual festival lunacy), eyes turned to the actor to ratchet up the crazy.

Instead, festivalgoers were treated to a clean-cut and well-dressed man with a film up for the Palme d’Or, another buzzy title hitting the market and no hint of performance art to speak of.

In the Sunday press conference for American Honey, LaBeouf refused to take the bait when asked about his explicit sex scenes in Andrea Arnold’s latest film (it was worth a try, right?), preferring instead to discuss the U.S. underclass, body-rolling to Rihanna on set, and his research for the role.

On his seemingly inspired casting as prickly tennis star John McEnroe in Film Vaest’s hot new biopic Borg/McEnroe, he said he understood the man and suggested his own backhand was “getting there.”

With such a well-mannered performance, attention then moved to American Honey’s world premiere. Surely there’d be time for some "Shia-nanigans" there?

But out of the limousine stepped a markedly different man from the one who turned up on the red carpet in Berlin two years ago. Wearing a white tux blazer, LaBeouf smiled, waved, shook hands with the fans, posed for selfies and even danced with his co-stars, looking like he was “having the best time,” according to one observer.

And during the film’s standing ovation, LaBeouf, easily the biggest star of the film, stepped back from the limelight, allowing the lead actress — and his rumored new girlfriend — Sasha Lane to take the applause. She cried.

While perhaps a disappointment for those looking for a few more Twitter followers, the new LaBeouf — Shia 2.0? — went down markedly well in Cannes and could well herald a return to major studio credibility.

Should Harrison Ford decide that maybe 75 is just a bit too old to be donning Indiana Jones’ fedora again (the next film is due out in 2019), there’s one actor already waiting in the wings with the necessary training.