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Every now and again, actors will star in a movie that completely surprises you. Sometimes it’s the change of tone, like when a performer who usually features in comedic roles suddenly delivers an unexpectedly dramatic performance. At other times, the surprise might have to do with the source material, such as when an actor who usually stars in forgettable films plays the lead in an Oscar-winner.
On rare occasions, both of those things can happen at the same time. For a recent example, look no farther than last year’s Uncut Gems. This film, about a Manhattan-based jeweller whose gambling addiction prevents him from paying off aggressive loan sharks, featured Adam Sandler – normally known for his cash-grabber comedies – in the role of a lifetime.
The same can be said for Shia LaBeouf and The Peanut Butter Falcon, which will be coming to Hulu next month on August 6th. Written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, the film sees LaBeouf play a mentor role in a modern adaptation of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn about a boy who runs away from home to become a boxer.
As far as reputations go, LaBeouf and Sandler aren’t so different. In the past, LaBeouf has given an amiable performance as the human lead of Michael Bay’s Transformers trilogy, and also portrayed a less warmly-received character in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, among many other roles.
More recently, however, he gained more fame as an internet meme first and an actor second when he starred in the independently-produced motivational speech “Just Do It.” Initially posted on YouTube, the thirty second video quickly spread around the internet, becoming one of the most-watched bits of content of the year, and re-dubbing Shia LaBeouf as the “Just Do It” guy.
But it seems he’s now on the verge of turning his career around with a string of impressive performances over the last few years. And The Peanut Butter Falcon is certainly one of his best.