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James Franco Pens Essay On Shia LaBeouf's Bizarre Behavior

In an op-ed piece he wrote for The New York Times, James Franco showed some empathy and concern for fellow actor Shia LaBeouf.
Posted at 3:22 PM, Feb 20, 2014

It seems like no one has had any sympathy for Shia LaBeouf's bizarre behavior, right? Well, one person finally is showing some, and who it is makes sense.

James Franco, who's had plenty of his own weird moments in the spotlight, came to his fellow actor's defense in an op-ed piece published on The New York Times' website Wednesday night. (Via ABC / "Jimmy Kimmel Live"CBS / "Late Show With David Letterman")

Franco wrote, "Though the wisdom of some of his actions may seem questionable, as an actor and artist I'm inclined to take an empathetic view of his conduct." (Via The New York Times)

Franco then goes on to refresh our memories about some of LaBeouf's more eyebrow-raising stunts, such as the plagiarism fiasco that BuzzFeed broke. Graphic novelist Daniel Clowes accused LaBeouf of stealing his work, then LaBeouf tweeted an apology that he had also plagiarized. (Via Twitter / @thecampaignbook)

More recently, LaBeouf was spotted at a red-carpet premiere in Germany wearing a paper bag with the words, "I am not famous anymore" on his head after tweeting that same phrase over and over again. (Via EuronewsTwitter / @thecampaignbook)

Most of us see this strange behavior as, well, strange. But in Franco's piece, he said he sees LaBeouf's actions differently.

"I hope ... that his actions are intended as a piece of performance art, one in which a young man in a very public profession tries to reclaim his public persona." (Via The New York Times)

Franco has done some pretty eccentric stuff in the name of art, like that art show in NYC back in 2010 that made headlines when it featured the actor with a prosthetic penis on his nose and a taxidermied cat. Yeah. (Via Jezebel)

LaBeouf has dabbled in the art world as well. He staged an art installation at a gallery in Los Angeles called, "#IAMSORRY." As the Los Angeles Times notes, we get it already. Really.

And as for public personas, Franco has toyed with his own several times in the past. He went from making mainstream blockbusters such as "Planet of the Apes" to several indie flicks, including "Spring Breakers." (Via 20th Century Fox / "Planet of the Apes," Muse Productions / "Spring Breakers")

Maybe LaBeouf is pulling a Joaquin Phoenix here and putting on a bizarre show for the sake of his craft. We hope. (Via They Are Going To Kill Us Productions / "I'm Still Here")

Franco ended the piece by wishing LaBeouf the best in his endeavors, whatever they actually are. LaBeouf has yet to comment on the op-ed.