Shia LaBeouf looks amped up as he goes running on the release day for his new movie The Tax Collector… amid debate over if there is ‘brownface’ in the film
Shia LaBeouf had something to be excited about Friday.
The actor/artist, 34, was full of energy while spotted during a morning jog around his LA neighborhood.
The often camera shy talent looked like he was in a great mood, out and about on the release day for his new film The Tax Collector.
Having a good day: Shia LaBeouf looked excited about his new movie The Tax Collector coming out on Friday
Shia smiled and waved while pounding the pavement in a pair of snug leggings and a blue tee shirt which hugged his toned torso.
His hair was slicked back and his eyes were hidden behind yellow sunglasses. The former Disney Channel star was without a mask during the outing.
Though Shia was clearly thrilled about The Tax Collector’s release, the movie is already facing a bit of controversy.
Director David Ayer recently had to defend the project after accusations LaBeouf’s character was an example of brownface.
Fit as a fiddle: Shia smiled and waved while pounding the pavement in a pair of snug leggings and a blue tee shirt which hugged his toned torso
Ayer’s latest film tells the story of a crime lord’s ‘tax collector’ is Los Angeles and how his life is upended when a rival boss arrives to town.
The cast is almost exclusively Latinx POC except for LaBeouf, 34, who donned a dark-trimmed hair and a ‘barrio accent.’
Several social media users have accused LaBeouf of taking on a Los Angeles cholo persona and looking ‘Mexican’ for entertainment purposes.
In two interviews with LA Times, Ayer doubled down on his stance and did not back down from his choice to cast LaBeouf as ‘Creeper.’
‘He’s a white guy playing a white guy. He’s not taking anyone’s work away,’ the director told the publication.
Ayer initially hit back at allegations of brownface on Twitter on July 1, where he again insisted LaBeouf was playing a white man in the film.
Problematic or not? Critics have accused LaBeof of doing brownface in the new film
Surface level: Critics have pointed out LaBeof’s appearance in The Tax Collector, as well as an apparent ‘barrio accent’
‘Really important answer – Shia is playing a white boy who grew up in the hood. This is a Jewish dude playing a white character. Also the only white dude in the movie,’ he wrote.
Ayer, a white man who grew up in California, added in a series of follow up tweets that he grew around Chicano culture.
‘I grew up hood and I’m a white boy. Chicano culture is inclusive – I’ve seen whiteys, Asians, Blacks, Filipinos all putting in work for the hood. It’s part of street culture,’ he wrote.
It was noted that The Tax Collector doesn’t specifically establish the ethnicity of LaBeouf’s character.
‘I get the complexities of the issues of historical representation in film and brownface. … It’s also like ‘American Me,’ ‘Blood In Blood Out.’ It’s a ’hood culture thing,’ Ayer added.
Director David Ayer, a white man who moved to Los Angeles as a teenager, denied the allegations that he facilitated brownface in his movie
The 52-year-old filmmaker explained: ‘Shia is playing a whiteboy who grew up in the hood. This is a Jewish dude playing a white character. Also the only white dude in the movie’
Ayer: ‘I grew up hood and I’m a whiteboy. Chicano culture is inclusive – I’ve seen whiteys, Asians, Blacks, Filipinos all putting in work for the hood. It’s part of street culture’ Pictured: Shia LaBeof in The Tax Collector
Critics of The Tax Collector have also said the movie enforces harmful and violent stereotypes associated with the Mexican American mafia.
‘My first impression was like, ‘Oh look, a cholo movie starring Shia LaBeouf,’ and technically that’s what it is,’ Lalo Alcaraz, the editorial cartoonist and satirist, told the publication.
‘There’s no literal brownface, but it’s definitely cultural brownface.’
Some cast members of the Tax Collector have since spoken out in defense of both Ayer’s ability to cover Latino communities and LaBeouf.
Chelsea Rendon, who played Lupe in The Tax Collector, called the movie a ‘really great story.’
Pictured: Shia LaBeouf plauing ‘Creeper’ in The Tax Collector movie trailer that was released in July
‘I think it’s just a really great story, showing the gritty streets, and that’s what David does best, when you think of ‘Training Day’ and ‘Harsh Times’ and ‘End of Watch,’ they have this grittiness to them,’ she said.
‘In all these movies, [Ayer] included the Chicano culture, he did it in ‘Suicide Squad,’ where he had the first Latino superhero Jay Hernandez play the Diablo, he’s put brown people in front of the camera more than anyone,’ said Bobby Soto, the film’s protagonist.
‘He’s Chicano inside, he’s raza 100,000 percent, it’s crazy.’
In regards to the brownface allegations, Rendon added that LaBeof’s character is recognizable to anyway who grew up in the area.
‘Shia plays a white boy who grew up around Mexicans, and if you grew up in the ’hood, you know that white boy!’ she said.
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