By Open Book
When an actor meets reality it may take the form of Shia Labeouf’s recent altercation on the streets of Vancouver, captured on video last week by TMZ (click here to see video). Now, who knows what really happened. However, when an actors persona overpowers their capacity to manage who’s to blame? Is it the actor, filmmaker or the general public or all three? In this article we will try to shed light on the realities of actors interactions with the general public and what the general public can do to respect an actor’s privacy off set.
It appears in this video Labeouf is out of control and outnumbered. Today filmmakers are putting pressure on young actors to do more of their own stunts. Could this be to blame for some young actors not knowing when to walk away when outnumbered in a fight? Actors are under constant pressure to perform on and off screen. The general public expects actors to portray the action, comedian or superhero in public at all times. Let’s face it, life working on a film or television set where people are paid to create fiction is not the real world. In the real world there are real guns and knives. There are no stunt doubles, choreographed fights, green screen or a director to yell cut when things go too far.
The majority of actors who take their craft seriously can differentiate between reality and fiction. They are aware they are playing a fictional character and this is not their identity. Many choose to focus on their craft and leave the action to professional stunt crews. Yet, there are those who want to push the boundaries by doing their own stunts. Why? Some argue they want the action to look authentic but they are also being pressured into it. Come on! We all know an actor weighing 1o0 lbs. knocking out a person triple their weight and height is a bit fantastic. So why risk injury causing production to stop? Are filmmakers trying to create superheros? Why not spend the time on the acting for which the audience will appreciate more? However, many actors indulge in choreographed fights; under the watchful eye and protection of people making sure their harnesses are secured. Angelina Jolie performed her own stunts for SALT and was injured according to Andrew Hough from The Telegraph. 
“The role required her to jump across highway overpasses onto semi-trucks, perform hand-to-hand combat and handle a number of different weapons.
The 35 year-old, whose partner is Brad Pitt, said she sliced open part of her face just above her nose when tumbling into a doorway with a gun.”
Is it a good idea for a major actor to get involved with performing their own stunts? Can audiences separate fact from fiction easily when they see actors trying to become the actual superheroes? In an interview by Tricia Taylor on Actors on Stunt Work actor Tucker Smallwood from Star Trek: Enterprise stated; 
“It didn’t take long to respect the skills of my stunt crew. These days, I check my ego at the door and let those people earn their money. I was a paratrooper; an Advisor and Commander in Vietnam…but a man’s gotta know his limitations.”
Today real stunts have been making a comeback according to Steve Rose in an article called Risky Business:
“Real stunts have been staging a comeback, and cinema is better off for them, as films like Bourne and Bond have shown. But something’s changed. We don’t just want our action heroes to act intrepid and athletic and superhuman, we want them to actually be action heroes for real.”
Is this a good idea for young actors, when the general public already has trouble respecting boundaries of actors off sett? Meaning the more filmmakers and actors blur the line between fact and fiction what harm are they doing to themselves and the general public? Will the general public protect an actor from themselves when they can’t distinguish a film set from the street like Shia Labeouf? How can the audience respect an actor for “acting” if they are being asked (by Hollywood) to think of them as “superheroes” for real?
What are your thoughts?