2007 was undeniably Shia LaBeouf’s year as he starred in three of the biggest films – Surf’s Up, Disturbia (pictured left) and the summer blockbuster Transformers. Not to mention, the movie superstar landed the coolest gig of all in Steven Spielberg’s much anticipated Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Not bad for someone who is just 21-years-old.
This year, the young actor is already off to another great start. He’s currently filming Paramount Pictures thriller Eagle Eye, which reteams him with Disturbia director D.J. Caruso and also stars Michelle Monaghan and Billy Bob Thornton. For a few days, the cast was in Riverside, California shooting at a DHL center and ComingSoon.net was on set to talk to the stars about their new project.
In the film, LaBeouf and Monaghan are two strangers who meet under rather suspicious circumstances. Monaghan is a single mom whose son has been kidnapped while LaBeouf’s life has been put in danger. The two receive a mysterious phone call demanding they do what they’re told. They meet up early in the movie and while they don’t trust one another, they are forced to team up and carry out the orders given to them in hopes they can go back to their normal lives. To ensure they do what has been asked of them, the two have been framed and set up to look like criminals. The FBI is chasing them and they are desperate to get away.
When we first got to set, we were shown footage of LaBeouf and Monaghan and doing their own action stunts from a scene shot the day before at the DHL center, which will actually serves as the Dayton airport in the film. The two were tumbling down a moving conveyor belt being hit by boxes as they were trying to escape FBI agents. Shortly after, we watched Monaghan and LaBeouf in action as they bravely tackled the moving conveyor belt again, but only this time they not only had to deal with boxes hitting them while trying to get away, they had to perform their stunts as well.
The scene started with Monaghan holding a large silver metal case. She’s on her hands and knees trying to get away from the FBI agent (played by Thornton) who was chasing her. However, it was his stunt double and not actually Billy Bob. He’s about to grab her and LaBeouf, who is behind him, jumps on him and pulls him back. Monaghan looks behind her and hits the FBI agent in the face with the case. LaBeouf hops over him to get closer to Monaghan to help her.
We watched for about an hour as they did the scene over and over again. Monaghan took a short break at one point and as she came down the ladder to the ground floor where we were standing. She looked out of breath and it appeared the scene was taking its toll on her. However, after a couple of minutes the brunette beauty was back up the ladder and back to work.
In addition to watching the scene and footage of the actors doing their own stunt work, we were given a tour of a C-17A U.S. Air Force plane, which the actors were going to be shooting a scene in the following day. This was a very cool part of the set visit and we enjoyed learning about the details of the aircraft. Here are a few quick facts about the plane: you need a minimal of three people to fly it, including two pilots and one load master; the C-17A can fly indefinitely as long as it can be refueled; and it can seat 102 people inside as long as there is nothing else to transport.
ComingSoon.net also got a chance to talk to LaBeouf and Monaghan and you can read what they had to say below:
ComingSoon.net: What’s going on in the scene you guys are shooting today?
Michelle Monaghan: A lot of bruising. We’re actually getting chased by Billy Bob Thornton’s character Morgan and we’ve got a case that we don’t know exactly where it needs to go to for all intensive purposes. We’ve got to deliver it somewhere and he’s in hot pursuit.
CS: Do you know what’s in the case?
CS: Have you tried opening the case?
Monaghan: Spoiler over here.
Shia LaBeouf: It’s on a time lock.
Monaghan: We can’t get into it. We don’t know what’s inside it.
CS: You guys are shooting a scene inside a crane together. What was that experience like?
LaBeouf: It was fantastic.
Monaghan: It was awesome.
LaBeouf: We lit the scene ourselves with a cell phone.
Monaghan: It was funny because he was mostly lit. We watched the playback and I was like, “you can’t even see me.” Dude help me out here.
LaBeouf: I just lit myself.
CS: Can you talk about your relationship in the film and how your characters meet?
LaBeouf: We’re strangers. I don’t know who she is and she doesn’t know who I am. We’re being led to each other and on this journey together by a voice named Aria who is basically commanding us to do various things.
CS: Such as?
LaBeouf: Such a jump into this tour bus, rob that Brinks truck
Monaghan: Go to the airport.
LaBeouf: Grab this case. Jump in this car.
Monaghan: It’s almost like a scavenger hunt in a way. We don’t know what we’re doing.
LaBeouf: You have 15 seconds to leave this building or you’ll die. Stuff like that. There’s no explanation. There’s no conservation.
Monaghan: It’s life or death.
CS: What makes you take the voice seriously?
LaBeouf: We both have situations where we both come very close to death. But very strategic planned close to death. It’s enough for us to realize it, but this voice knows we’re safe.
CS: What’s the one thing you two did to put yourselves on the FBI’s radar and make them suspicious of you?
LaBeouf: We’ve been framed as criminals. We’re target criminals.
CS: What specifically have you been framed for?
LaBeouf: I show up at my apartment and there’s boxes of ammunition, there’s bag of fertilizer, there’s weaponry, there’s maps, there’s directions on bomb making. There’s a lot of things that would point to me being a terror suspect. He decides to leave the apartment and the journey begins.
CS: From the physical aspect, is it hard to maintain the emotional energy level?
Monaghan: I think it’s probably easier. This is the most physically-demanding role I know I’ve done, but it really just heightens everything that you’ve got to lose. It really does feel like that. We’re just running and gunning a lot. That momentum is there. I think that helps us tell the story.
CS: Michelle, I was watching your facial expressions during this scene and every take you seriously look frightened. Is that partly from being on a conveyor belt while it’s moving and you’re having to do these action stunts?
Monaghan: Sure, yeah. That’s why I love it too. It’s so exciting. It’s like Shoots and Ladders for adults basically. There are a lot of things to be aware of and being careful. We’re definitely getting bruised and battered. I am because he’s much more clever about doing stunts. I just throw my body around
LaBeouf: No, she’s bad ass. Don’t let her fool you. She’s bad ass.
Monaghan: But it’s fun. So yeah, I am really scared, but also the character has to be scared. I’m not that good at playing it cool.
CS: Shia, this is the third or fourth movie in a row now that you’ve had to do very physical work. Are you comfortable with that aspect of the job now?
LaBeouf: I’m pretty comfortable. I mean no, it’s not comfortable. I’m more knowledgeable on how not to get hurt. When they say pad up, you pad up. There’s no more bravado anymore. That’s out the window. You get hit a couple of times and you realize over the course films that the bravado s**t is kind of pointless. At this point I just have more knowledge about it.
CS: This is the second time working with director D.J. Caruso. Can you compare what it is like working for him on this film verses “Disturbia”?
LaBeouf: Well the last movie we were in a room for three months. This, we haven’t been in the same room for two days. It’s very different. There’s an “Easy Rider” element to this where we’re never in the same spot too long. It’s a journey film whereas “Disturbia” was sort of this very different movie. D.J. is an ace. It’s awesome to watch him grow and me grow and we’re doing it together. Our cast this time is crazy. We both can feel it. To have Michelle here and Billy Bob here. Having [Michael] Chiklis. Our cast is really strong. [Anthony] Mackie and Rosario [Dawson]. We didn’t have this amount on the last. It was a lot of just me and him and the camera. This time it’s bigger. It’s fun to watch him sprouting. It’s wild. I love D.J., I love working with him.
CS: Can you talk about the humorous aspects of the film?
LaBeouf: Yeah there’s some humor in it. Less for me. There’s humor in it. Billy Bob is really funny.
Monaghan: Billy Bob is so funny. Yeah, he’s really funny. He has a really unique way of playing the character and he’s pretty deadpan. He’s good.
CS: Off the clock funny as well?
LaBeouf: Yeah, he’s absolutely funny. I mean he’s serious. You wouldn’t f**k around with him.
Monaghan: I probably wouldn’t tell him he’s funny.
CS: Can you go back to talking about how your characters first meet?
LaBeouf: She’s just lost her child.
Monaghan: I’m a single mom whose son has been put into some dire straights. I’m basically forced by Aria to make some pretty split decisions. Essentially how far would you go to save someone’s life. We first meet in a car. He bails into a car because he’s been told to come into the car and I think he’s basically responsible for the kidnapping of my son.
LaBeouf: I think she’s the voice on the other end. We’re figuring each out on the run. It’s not like we’re instant friends. I don’t know who she is. There’s still that air of mystery.
Monaghan: And mistrust. That mistrust kind of carries us throughout the film.
CS: Do you know what’s going to happen next or are you kept in the dark for your character’s sake?
LaBeouf: No, we know what’s going to happen.
CS: Any sort of romance between you two?
LaBeouf: You would think so right? They didn’t.
Monaghan: [Laughing] You would imagine tiger. [She playfully runs her hand through his hair and tosses his head back]
LaBeouf: We’re surviving. I don’t know how much room there is for any kissy kissy bulls**t when you’re about to die.
CS: It almost has that classic buddy movie feel to it. Two people who don’t trust each other
LaBeouf: Only I don’t know how much buddy there really is. We don’t have a choice.
Monaghan: We can’t leave each other at all. We basically have to get through all of these situations and trust each.
LaBeouf: We’re forced into all of these decisions. It’s not like I choose to hang out with her. I choose to be around her.
Monaghan: Alright, let’s not get carried away here.
LaBeouf: I think that’s one of the cool elements of the film that I haven’t really seen before.
CS: Michelle, how would you compare this to “Mission: Impossible 3?”
Monaghan: I think the character is “Mission: Impossible” is kind of the heart of the story whereas all of this action is going on around her. But here, it’s really smack dab in the middle of it.
CS: Shia, do your two brothers meet in the film?
LaBeouf: The twins. Do you see them on screen at any point? No. One of them is dead at the offset of the film. There’s flashbacks, but there’s not a lot of interaction between the two.
Eagle Eye hits theaters on August 8.