After he wraps up Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Disney Channel alum and Transformersstar Shia LaBeouf may be tackling a far less family-friendly role: The21-year-old hopes to play horror-core rapper Cage in a biopic thatshould make Eminem’s 8 Mile look like Mary Poppins.Though LaBeouf only recently began speaking about his admiration forCage — the actor even flashed the hand sign for Cage’s crew, CardboardCity, on Saturday Night Live in April — he’s long been a fanof the rapper’s nihilistic, profanity-strewn rhymes. “I have beenlistening to Cage since I got into hip-hop when I was 12,” LaBeouf saysduring a break from filming the fourth Indy flick. “I grew up on theWest Coast listening to a lot of 2Pac and Eazy-E, so when I found outthat Cage was white, it was incredible. I’d never heard anything likethat.”
Years later, LaBeouf reached out to Cage as a fan. “Hewanted to do a documentary on me, but I deleted the first few e-mailsthinking he was just another random film student,” the MC born ChrisPalko recalls. “When I mentioned it to some friends, they were like,’Are you kidding me? I fucking love [LaBeouf’s Disney series] Even Stevens!‘” Soon after, Cage allowed LaBeouf to film his 2006 tour, at whichpoint the actor decided that the Def Jux rapper’s tumultuous life story– which included hard drugs, suicide attempts, and a stint in apsychiatric ward — was big-screen worthy. “I was a basket case, with ahead full of PCP,” Cage says of his past. “My story’s real as fuck, andI’m confident that we can capture that.”
That grittinessspills directly into Cage’s back catalog, which matches ear-twistingsurrealism with moments of stomach-turning misogyny and violence.”After circle jerks I wash my hands off and do dirt / Sick with asmirk, plus I be disturbed / Fucked the first two bitches like dogs,and I jacked off on the third,” he rhymes on “Agent Orange,” where heimagines himself as psycho delinquent Alex from A Clockwork Orange.
Eventhough LaBeouf has yet to tap a writer or director, he’s eager to takeon a role that will confound an industry expecting him to be, as StevenSpielberg has said, “the next Tom Hanks.” “It’s kind of like how nomatter what film De Niro was making, he was always ready to pull Raging Bull out of his back pocket,” LaBeouf says. “Cage is my Jake LaMotta.”