THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
Shia LaBeouf -- Ben Shepard
Shia LaBeouf came to international prominence thanks largely to his roles in
Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the
immensely popular Transformers film series. With THE COMPANY YOU KEEP, the
actor saw a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with Robert Redford, along with an
incredible role in Ben Shepard.
"When I read the script, I saw Ben as an idealist," says LaBeouf. "I looked at
Redford and Dustin Hoffman in All the President's Men (Alan J. Pakula's 1976 film on
the Watergate scandal); there was a bit of both of them there. To me, Ben was an
amalgamation of those two men. I pitched that idea to Bob and he was very comfortable
"Still, Ben's a complex character and, admittedly, a bit of a fame-whore too,"
says LaBeouf, with a smile. "In a sense, he's living in a turtle shell. He's all about him.
He's all about making that turtle shell bigger -- and it's all self-propelled insanity, really.
He's all about getting famous for being the best reporter in the world and he's got the
story... But at the same time his life doesn't have a lot of love in it. He's in solitude. He's
the kind of guy who googles himself every night for self validation. Ben is like that, and
then he finds a woman like he's never known and he chases that dream in the midst."
"In the story I meet Shia's character who's a reporter and I'm guarded; I don't
exactly trust him," says Brit Marling, who plays Rebecca Osborne, of their relationship
on screen. "And then we sort of get to know one another and it turns out I may have a
right to be guarded."
"It's a very political movie, but it's also just very fundamentally human," Marling
continues. "I don't think it works to make a movie that's just about politics, because
movies are ultimately about moving people. When you talk about politics, but it's buried within a human story, the audience is more willing to open up and let those ideas in along
with the emotions."
Ultimately for LaBeouf, there was also the attraction of playing a role unlike any
he's done before. "I'm playing the antagonist for the first time, which is really fun for
me," says the young star. "It's sexy as hell to do that. And for the protagonist to be
Robert Redford is really wild for me. To be on the same poster as Robert Redford is
really wild for me... Throw in that cast that we had, those really amazing actors who
brought so much cool stuff to the table and really fleshed out the script -- it was just an
amazing ride. "
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