Sam Levine. Freaks And Geeks, TV, 1999-2000. Auditioned for Neil Schweibe, chief freak of the fictional Chippewa, Michigan. “Oh, I love this boy,” Brad Pitt told British GQ magazine after making Fury with him in 2013. “He’s one of the best actors I've ever seen. He’s full-on commitment, man. He’s living it like no one else, let me tell you. I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great actors. He’s one of the best I’ve seen.”Michael Soll, Pee Stains And Other Disasters, 2004. Luckily he avoided being one of two skateboarding and girl-chasing heroes with the worst title of the year.
- Michael Soll, Pee Stains And Other Disasters, 2004. Luckily he avoided being one of two skateboarding and girl-chasing heroes with the worst title of the year.
- Ed Speleers, Eragon, 2005. A legendary 180,000 actors - headed by LaBeouf, Alex Pettyfer and Elijah Wood - were beaten to the title rolean unknown, still a boarder at Eastbourne College at the time.
- Sam Huntingdon, Superman Returns, 2006.
- Daniel Radcliffe, December Boys, 2006. Disturbia and Transformers came first. Young Freddie Highmore, 13 at the time, also had to exit (for family reasons). Radcliffe was 16. His agent, Sue Latimer, happened to be…Highmore’s mother!
- Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2006.
Ben’s kid brother won because New Zealand director Andrew Dominik thought LaBeouf was too young - the very reason he was winning all his Spielberg movies. Disturbia, Transformers, Eagle Eye, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull. “I grew up with this idea, if you got to Spielberg, that’s where it is,” LaBeouf told Variety in 2016. He was not talking about money or fame, but a screen legacy. Innstead, he found that DreamWorks scripts were not letting him grow as an actor… “You realise you’re not meeting the Spielberg you dream of. You’re meeting a different Spielberg, who is in a different stage in his career. He’s less a director than he is a fucking company Spielberg’s sets are very different. Everything has been so meticulously planned. You got to get this line out in 37 seconds. You do that for five years, you start to feel like not knowing what you’re doing for a living. I don’t like the movies that I made with Spielberg. The only movie that I liked that we made together was Transformers 1.”
- Emile Hirsch, Speed Racer, 2007. Also close to occupying Speed’s driving seat: Labeouf, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The problem was the director. He kept changing. From British Julien Temple to Mexico’s Alfonso Cuarón Cuarón to Gus Van Sant. Finally, the Wachowski siblings voted Zac Efron before signing Hirsch, a long time fan of the 1967-1968 Japanese anime series series.
- Bradley Cooper, The Dark Fields, 2010. Lost: an opportunity to co-star with Robert De Niro.
- Bradley Cooper, Limitless, 2010. Shia was a shoo-in for Eddie - the nobody rising to dizzyfinancial heights due to a designer pharmaceutical called NZT - until badly injuring his left hand in a July 2008 car smash.
- James Franco, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, 2010. “The movie you may have been expecting,” said Chicago critic Roger Ebert. “No less, no more.” In an attempt to relaunch the Fox franchise, Shia and Toby Maguire were also in the mix for Will Rodman - a tribute to the first Apes scenarist Rodman (aka Rod) Serling.
- Ryan Reynolds, Safe House, 2011. All the other new guys - Zac Efron,Jake Gyllenhaall, Garret Hedlund, Taylor Kitsch, James McAvoy, Chris Pine, Channing Tatum, Sam Worthington - also angledto be the freshman CIA babysitterhaving to rescue Denzel Washington from an attacked safe house in the Hollywood debut of Swedish director Daniel Espinosa.
- Jeremy Renner,The Bourne Legacy, 2011. Three was enough for Matt Damon. The studio did not agree and kept the franchise alive by rebooting Jason Bourne as Aaron Cross - “There Was Never Just One.” But who to play him from 19 hopefuls? Not the Guatemnala-born Isaac, compensated with a shorter role as #3. Renner, Hollywood’s new (and young) white hope since The Hurt Locker, was also picked to carry on the Mission: Impossible franchise.
- Daniel Radcliffe, Horns, 2012. Dan inherits anew as LaBeouf’s agenda had him, leaving the guy with horns growing on his headafter his lover’s mystery death.From the novel by Joe (son of Stephen) King.
- Casey Affleck, Triple Nine, 2013. LaBoeuf had to leave. Hunnam stepped in. Then, he had to go. Enter: Affleck. Joining the corrupt cops blackmailed into an “impossible” heist… which involved killing one of their own.
- Zac Eron, The Associate, 2014. When Paramount announced a film of the John Grisham book back in 2009, LaBeouf was the hero Then, Efron took over as star and producer of Adrian Lyne’s first fiilm since Unfaithful in 2001.
- Miles Teller, Arms and the Dudes, 2015. Long time in the planning and even then, director Todd Phillip’s lost his 20-something stoner buddies involved in a $300m arms deal - Hill and Shia Labeouf.
- Scott Eastwood, Suicide Squad, 2015. After their Fury, 2014, director David Ayer called on LaBeouf for Lieutenant GQ Edwards - even though he was no longer an A-lister. LaBeouf told Vartiety that the studio vetoed his casting. “I don’t think Warner Bros wanted me. I went in to meet, and they were like, ‘Nah, you’re crazy. You’re a good actor, but not this one.’ It was a big investment for them… The character was different initially. Then, Will [Smith] came in, and the script changed a bit. That character and Tom [Hardy’s] character [played by Joel Kinnaman] got written down to build Will up.”
- Spencer Rocco LoFranco, The Life and Death of John Gotti, 2016. Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr downright refused The Son... Also in discussion for Gotti Jr - in what was then Gotti: In The Shadow Of My Father - were LaBouef, James Franco, Jeremy Renner, Channing Tatum, even the British Dominic Cooper. While Juniors, writers, directors (Nick Cassavetes, Barry Levinson) and the years sped by, John Travolta remained literally The Teflon Don as Gotti Sr, was known when the untouchable head of New York’s Gambino Mafia family. Canada’s LoFranco was perfect for Travolta… unknown, far from A Lists or stealing movies.