Honestly…it’s not like I was expecting Shia Labeouf to turn up in the next Indiana Jones movie to reprise his role as Mutt Williams. He was never liked/wanted in the previous one—like Hayden Christiansen as Anakin Skywalker (who I was personally fine with, but I understand the lukewarm reception), Shia’s presence in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull seemed to be “shoehorned” in, regardless of inherent appeal; much like the Swing Music Craze of the mid-1990s.
That said, the news that Shia Labeouf will not be returning to the franchise sort of underlines the current state of his career.
Sure, he has the “prestige” movie Borg/McEnroe coming out soon, which will be opening both the Toronto and Zurich film festivals. I don’t dispute his talent, though I think he has been placed in a number of films over the last ten years that render him a bland quantity.
But I think ultimately his erratic public behavior—which includes not only repeatedly baiting the “alt-right” crowd, but then also using racial remarks when getting arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct—is seen as the big liability. Something that is more as a liability for a blockbuster movie franchise star than an making “indie” films like Borg/McEnroe and Nymphomaniac.
And Labeouf, for his part, seems “done” with those franchise films too. In a 2012 interview he told The Hollywood Reporter that studios “give you the money, then get on a plane and come to the set and stick a finger up your ass…”
So there’s that.
In the same interview, the actor indicated that he did regret disparaging comments he made about Steven Spielberg—disparaging comments that he made again in 2016. This, above everything else, may explain why there is no Mutt Williams in “Indy 5.”
At any rate, the Indiana Jones franchise will survive the loss of Labeouf; whether his career will survive as well is still up in the air.
The untitled 5th Indiana Jones film is currently scheduled to hit theaters July 10, 2020
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