Shia LaBeouf has gotten plenty of people talking over the past month, making many wonder what exactly is going on. Is all of this just an act? Or has he officially lost his mind? While we are completely lost trying to keep up with Shia and his bizarre antics, James Franco gave his two sense on the actor for an op-ed piece in The New York Times.

In “Why Actors Act Out,” James thinks there’s more to Shia than him going crazy. “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,” he writes. He also goes on to compare the young actor to the late Marlon Brando, who rejected a “Best Actor” Oscar for The Godfather in order to gain control of his image.

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Another famous actor who Shia has already been getting comparisons to that James called out was Joaquin Phoenix, who put on a strange act back in 2010, claiming he was retiring from acting to become a rapper. We all later found out that it was all part of his documentary I’m Still Here.

James writes, “Any artist, regardless of his field, can experience distance between his true self and his public persona. But because film actors typically experience fame in greater measure, our personas can feel at the mercy of forces far beyond our control. Our rebellion against the hand that feeds us can instigate a frenzy of commentary that sets in motion a feedback loop: acting out, followed by negative publicity, followed by acting out in response to that publicity, followed by more publicity, and so on.”

James explains how Shia acting since he was young may have something to do with his strange projects. “LaBeouf has been acting since he was a child, and often an actor’s need to tear down the public creation that constrains him occurs during the transition from young man to adult. I think Mr. LaBeouf’s project, if it is a project, is a worthy one,” he writes. “I just hope that he is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist.”

Do you agree with James?

Could Shia be doing all of his in order to gain control of his public persona?