Shia LaBeouf on 'Indiana Jones IV': 'When you drop the ball, you drop the ball.'


Image Credit: David James

People in Hollywood don’t usually admit mistakes. But there are exceptions. Just this weekend, Shia LaBeouf broke the Hollywood cone of silence and provided some minor closure on one of the darkest episodes in American history. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, the actor apologetically admitted that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was not exactly the greatest movie ever.

To me, LaBeouf’s comments don’t sound remotely diva-ish. He notes his own responsibility for the film, saying, “You can blame it on the writer and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg]. But the actor’s job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn’t do it.” (Considering that he’s talking about the scene where his character swings through the treetops with monkeys, I think he’s being a bit hard on himself.) He also insists on having a tremendous amount of respect for Steven Spielberg: “He’s done so much great work that there’s no need for him to feel vulnerable about one film. But when you drop the ball you drop the ball.” (Spielberg’s camp issued no comment to EW.)

PopWatchers, how do you feel about LaBeouf’s admission? Does anyone else find it noteworthy that he mentions Spielberg and co-star Harrison Ford, but doesn’t say a word about producer (and skull-enthusiast) George Lucas? And do you think it’s admirable for such a young actor to go on the record against Steven Freaking Spielberg, or do you think LaBeouf is stabbing his coworkers in the back? And does anyone out there really like Crystal Skull? (My brother does, but he also likes Temple of Doom, which proves mental illness runs in my family.)

Comments (288 total) Add your comment
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  • paige

    i liked Crystal Skull– in fact, I like all the Indiana Jones movies- theyre just dumb fun… i honestly dont get all the hate. what were people really expecting???

    • Kevin

      A movie that didn’t have aliens or a character swinging through trees making Tarzan noises.

      • thin

        Or a nuclear explosion-proof refrigerator.

      • Machunny

        Not just aliens. Really stupid looking aliens. Sad they didn’t have any kind of effects budget.

      • LOL

        Luckily I didn’t waste my time or money on this one.

      • commentor

        Knowledge was their treasure. Nuff said.

      • paige

        all the indiana jones movies had EXTREMELY far-fetched scenarios… so aliens and nuking a fridge is on par with bare handed heart removal and jumping out of a plane with an inflatable boat, taunting birds with an umbrella to attack a plane, drinking a cup of “jesus” with magical healing powers, should i continue with the ark????

      • therealeverton

        Seriously what is the problem with aiens? We’ve had a Jewish relic, the power of Sikh gods and The Christian Holy Grail. Of the four stories the Aliens are by far the most likely to appear in “reality”. Aliens were by no means the biggest problem in Indy 4, if they were a problem at all.

      • therealeverton

        Sorry Hinu and Sikh deities

      • God

        And all of the the Christian themed hocus/pocus crap in Raiders and Crusade don’t bother you? That goofy ghost knight in Crusade with the holy grail? the ‘spirits’ flying out of the ark? Really? – all of these movies are fun popcorn munching fun, that’s it. They are equal in their far-fetched themes. Now if you want to pick on Kate Capshaw or the goofy Asian kid in Temple, be my guest, but as far as Aliens or Christian myths go, I just don’t see the difference in one’s believability over the other.

      • Jennifer

        The nuke-proof fridge – ‘nough said.

      • fredo451

        The aliens WERE the problem! Indiana Jones is based in mysticism, NOT sci-fi. And so what about the nuke-proof fridge. That was just over the top fun.

      • paige

        actually Indiana Jones is based on pulp serials. since it also takes place during the late 50’s, Russians are the enemy and area-51 paranoia is everywhere… you dont see the aliens till the climax of the movie– i still dont see what the big deal is…

      • BlackIrish4094

        Of course all you idiots use people complaining about aliens to bust out your anti-Christian attitudes. What a bunch of a-holes.

      • Big Walt

        They weren’t aliens. Maybe the problem with people who say they didn’t like the movie is that they just didn’t understand it.

      • untapttalent

        i actually liked the alien aspect…i think that couldve been done in a very interesting way, but when you add the swinging through the trees, the vehicle being let down slow into the water by a branch, and Indiana surviving a nuclear blast, it went a bit too far.

    • therealeverton

      Raiders is not dumb fun.??

      • Mac

        Raiders is arguably the best action movie around and routinely makes Top 100 movie lists. The production, performances, score… everything about it is just right. It should have won Best Picture the year it was released, instead of the over-hyped Chariots of Fire (yawn). Raiders might just be the best movie of the ’80’s… even better than Raging Bull?? I think so.

    • Josh M

      “Raiders” was actually very intelligent fun, and the next two to only a slightly lesser degree. The first three films were in fact so popular because they WEREN’T dumb.

      • therealeverton


      • SuperDan

        Indeed, the first three are light-years better than Crystal Skull.

        I have to confess, though, that my estimation of LeBeouf has gone up a notch or two between his slagging of Transformers 2 and Indy: KotCS. I mean, the kid has some crimes against cinema to answer for, but you’ve got to admire that kind of kamikaze honesty even if it’s being fueled by pure youthful naivete (and possibly powerful cold medicine or something).

      • Ry

        I totally agree with both these fine gentleman. LeBeouf probably HAD to say something before his chance of ever being cast by a true visionary director slips away.

      • Cygnus

        Well, maybe Shia can take the hat trick and torpedo the Wall Street sequal next.

    • Brian

      I liked Crystal Skull and Temple of Doom, but I love Raiders and Last Crusade.
      I don’t think Crystal Skull is as bad as everyone said it was–sure, the ending should’ve been punched up (old people slowly walking?), but there were very few things I hated about the film (the fridge and the monkeys/tree swing sequence are really the only two), and I never got how aliens were so much harder for everyone to swallow than rocks that made crops grow or a cup that heals just because Jesus drank out of it.
      I always thought Indy was supposed to be at least partially evocative of the pulp fiction of the period the movies were set in, and aliens play right into that for the 50’s, just like the religious/supernatural stuff played into the 30’s and 40’s pulp.
      Yes, Crystal Skull is the worst of the Indy films, but it’s not a terrible or even a bad movie.

      • Kevin

        It’s not that aliens are any harder to buy, it’s that they don’t fit into what had come before. All of the other films had a religious/supernatural element to them while Crystal Skull went with a sci-fi element…it just didn’t work for me.

      • Jose

        Kevin, you have to remember that the Indiana Jones franchise tackle the popular movie franchises at the time the movies take place (Does what I say make sense?) So in the 50s it was all about sci-fi films with aliens and that was why Kingdom of the Crystal Skull featured aliens. Personally I liked it and the only film in the franchise I’ve ever hated was Temple of Doom.

      • therealeverton

        No problem with aliens at all. As stated above it fit with the period that the movie was set, just like the other Indy films and was pretty well handled.

        Other than the dreadfully written, scream marathon, that was poor Kate capshaw”s character, what is wrong with Temple of Doom?

        Oh and will people get over the fridge, ridiculous escapes are all over the ~Jones movies and the things people thought you could do with atom bombs, and in fact DID around the tests were nearly as crazy. Sometimes crazier. It was OTT, but that’s Indy for ya. Who’s up for a jump out of a plane onto the snowy clfftops in a life raft?

      • ohonua24

        I agree with Kevin’s comment. I loved all three of the old ones, even Temple of Doom, and this whole alien thing just didn’t fit in with the other themes, exploring archaeological mythologies. I’m a huge Indy fan, was very disappointed with Crystal Skull.

      • Michael

        I agree, however, I think the real problem with the story, is that most people didn’t know that the whole “crystal skull” myth is a very HOT topic in archeology, where as the Cup and Arc are very common knowledge. I imagine the stones were based on some arch myth too, but don’t know it.

        I liked them all. I actually though Shia was one of the better performers in the film.

      • Michael

        to ohonua24….

        the crystal skulls ARE based in archeology too. Google it. There have been five crystal skulls found in the world – mayan temple was the first – and scientists still don’t know how they were made or how to replicate them. They are an “unknown,” and have a very strong religious following in South America.

      • Mexichick

        Fail, at least according to the British Museum all the crystal skulls were long ago proved to be clever hoaxes, not mysterious “unknowns” And yes they do know how they were made, they were carved… out of crystal, not rocket science.

      • Zoe

        What is wrong with Temple of Doom? In my opinion, it is the darkness of the movie. I don’t need to see Indy being tortured, his will taken, or children being abused. There is a dark and creepy side to Temple of Doom that is at odds tonally with Raiders and Crusade. That said…it’s still well-shot and certainly has its moments; most notably the nightclub scene, the dinner scene, and the bugs! But it’s definitely my least favorite of the three (I withhold opinion on Crystal Skull, having only seen it once).

      • Jennifer

        The crystal skulls were not based on legitimate archaeology, just junk science. Not that they would’ve known that in the 50s. But I’m sorry, Raiders & Crusade were intelligent, fun movies, Temple much less so and Crystal Skull, not at all.

      • Dave

        I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but the Holy Grail (or cup of Christ) isn’t just special because Jesus drank out of it, it has powers because it caught the blood of Christ when he was crucified on the cross. His holy blood caught in the cup made the cup have its power. Actually many people take communion or sacrament of wine or water which represents Christ’s blood shed for all mankind cleansing the partaker if he/she is worthy to receive it. Anyway, I didn’t mean to get into all that, but I wanted to make it clear as to the reason the cup was special. Not that I believe it, but its a little easier to swallow than some aliens.

      • Rick

        I liked it better than Temple of Doom…

    • stevenjaba

      ppl are expecting a good movie – like the first one.

      • Hiro Kitty

        He’s a CRYSTAL NUMBSKULL! Transformers was much worse than Indy 4.

    • David

      I was expecting a well written story where characters don’t just drop in unexpectedly and their stories were explained rather than being shown/filmed. I thought this movie was worst than The Temple of Doom myself.

      • Mola Ram

        Temple of Doom is one the greatest action/adventure films ever made. A wonderful opening that pays homage to Busby Berkeley musicals. A unique setting. A tremendous score. The most amazing climax I’ve ever witnessed. Plus, it is the only film in the series where Indy himself actually saves the day. A perfect prequel.

      • Big Walt

        Plus it gave us the great scene where Indy just shots the guy instead of fighting him.

      • Mac

        I used to hate on Temple of Doom, too. But I think it is the second best film (the mine carts are fantastic). I know as a kid I thought it would’ve been cool to be Short Round. Raiders – Temple – Crusade – andwayondowntheline – Kingdom. If they make a fifth one, Java or Great Zimbabwe would be cool locales.

    • I was expecting something . . .

      With a tighter script. Instead I got a convoluted mythology that didn’t make any sense and too many characters most of whom didn’t add much of anything to the proceedings.

    • Shia Fan

      I liked the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! The special effects were great, and I liked the story. The actors were all good in it, too.

    • Harry Knockers

      Aliens don’t belong in an Indiana Jones movie!!!! But he should have kept his mouth shut.

      • Tim

        Why should he keep his mouth shut? He should suck up to “superior” people in the movie biz and keep his opionions to himself. If you belive that, you’re worthless.

    • julie

      I liked the movie, wasnt as great as raiders or crusade, but I don’tget the hate either. All the movies had spernatural elemetns to them. I jst thought the monkey swinging scene was bad and out of place.

    • Pete

      A movie by Speilberg shouldn’t have two moments when the cinema crowds groan at the stupidity of what they are seeing: 1) the nuke/fridge scene and the swinging through the trees with monkeys. Sure there are supernatural elements in all the movies, but these were two scenes where “normal” people were doing extraordinary things that came off as silly.

    • Cristina

      I enjoyed Indiana Jones 4 as much as the other 3. If I were Shia, I would brag to everyone that I was in an Indiana Jones movie.

    • David O.

      The first 3 Indy’s are masterpieces. Yes, even Temple Of Doom. I consider Raiders to be the second greatest movie ever after Star Wars.
      Kindom doesn’t even come close but it’s better than most adventure flicks. The biggest problem was John Hurt’s horrible performance of a dreadful character which is there for about 25 minutes. The 30 second monkey swinging is nothing compared to this.

    • April

      IA Paige. I liked the movie just fine. It’s a movie; it did its job, I was entertained for 2 hours.

    • CyberPimp

      Snake rope! They saved Indy with a snake…using it as a rope. That was the moment I realized this movie was going to be epic fail…

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    I liked Crystal Skull, sure not as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark or Last Crusade but definitely better than The Temple of Doom.

    Granted the swinging from the trees part made me cringe, but it isn’t hard to forget that part either.

    • stacy

      I am not a big temple of doom fan (Lost Crusade is my fav) but i loved aspects of it as a kid. ie: The head “priest?” dude taking the guys heart out (classic reenactment scene for kids who watched it) and the bugs…thinking of that scene still makes my skin crawl.

  • Mariah

    LOL. I liked Crystal Skull. I don’t think it should be heralded as the greatest movie ever made or even a great movie period, but I had fun watching it. For the record, I don’t think Shia sounds diva-ish. I’m sure others will because it’s such a rare thing for anybody in Hollywood to be willing to admit mistakes we the viewing public discuss openly that when it happens they tend to be leapt upon as biting the hand that feeds them. This wasn’t bitter, petty sniping on Shia’s part as he tried to run away from a flop. This was just honesty. I think the distinction is pretty clear.

  • Cole

    I’ve always blamed Lucas. Look at how he ruined Star Wars.
    I only hope there is never an Indy 5.

    • Chappel

      Don’t forget, there are three more Star Wars movies to make (7, 8 & 9). When Lucas’ cash flow starts running low again you can expect a further lowering of the Star Wars bar…. in 3D.

      • Jack Secret

        He still has the eventual release of the Star Wars trilogies on Blu Ray that he can bleed dry… at least as many Blu-Ray releases as there have been on DVD already.

      • Swede

        How can he lower the bar anymore? He had Jar Jar Binks create the Empire (as a big FU to all the fans) by having him motion that security pact in the Senate which created the office of Emperor. (sometihng like that I saw the movie only once and was appalled)

    • Big Walt

      From what I recall it was originally going to be much worse and I think Ford and Speilberg wouldn’t roll with the script Lucas originally gave them and made him tone down the “alien” aspect a lot.

  • Eyeball

    Shia knows he would have been sued if he’d included George Lucas in his comments.

    And if you enjoyed Crystal Skull, then congratulations! You are officially the lowest common denominator.

    • Roger

      Wow Eyeball!! You couldn’t just respectfully disagree with another person’s opinions huh? You had to go and insult the person too huh?

      • joe blow

        Most of you say you liked it, but then say that it was just a popcorn munching movie – not something you obviously had high hopes for. Many of the people who are upset, really enjoyed and are avid fans of the Jones movies and were really hoping for this one to be a good conclusion to a spectacular franchise of films. Sure, things happen that are absolutely ridiculous in the first three. But the movie making, acting, etc are all solid in all of the first three films. Especially in the Raiders. The way everything is done – the editing, the way scenes are put together, and Ford does a great job in his role(of course he was much younger then.) The problem with the Crystal skull is not the aliens or the… well the tree swinging didn’t help. But, it was the feel of the movie that was the problem. You could tell it was all shot in front of a blue screen or on a set designed to look somewhat like a jungle. A lot of the stunts didn’t ring true because of that. Remember the truck fight in the original Indy where he slides under the truck? That was all done by real people with a real truck in a real desert. No blue screen crap where the backgrounds are added in later. The problem with the Cr Skull was that nothing felt real. Nothing had any real weight and as a result, the ridiculous things that happened were made to feel even more unreal and unbelievable.

  • Reggie

    I thinks he’s right…

    • Travis

      I just wish he would have apologized for Eagle Eye. It was just as, if not more, corny than Crystal Skull.

      • Jennifer

        He should actually include nearly every movie he’s made.

      • Laura

        I agree. That was a pretty painful couple of hours. Shia LaBoeuf is not Cary Grant, or Jimmy Stewart and I do sincerely wish that Hollywood would stop pretending that he is. Crystal Skull was pretty ludicrous-well beyond what I’m willing to accept. I thought it was very funny-but mostly when it wasn’t supposed to be. Which is not a good thing when the movie in question is part of such a classic series.

  • jason

    I hated it. I did think his performance was corny but I also thought the story was bad and the direction lackluster. It just seemed toothless somehow.

  • DC


    must be just you and me. Granted, it’s no Last Crusade or Raiders, but I still got a kick out it..good fun in the spirit of the old serials which inspired the whole series

  • d

    i liked it too, its suppose to be over the top. sheesh

  • Dave

    Don’t understand the hate for Temple of Doom, which was a better movie than the Last Crusade.

    • Kevin

      I actually agree with you. I LOVED Last Crusade when it came out…thought it was only slightly behind Raiders as best in the series. But after re-watching it recently, I realized that it’s REALLY corny. While Temple of Doom goes for a lot of the same cheesy humor, for some reason it just works so much better than in Last Crusade. Temple of Doom is also more fun and more exciting than ANY of the other movies (though Raiders is easily the best, ToD is LITERALLY a rollercoaster ride of fun). Crystal Skull, on the other hand, was AWFUL.

    • Josh M


    • fireflystare221

      I agree!! I love Temple of Doom! I have seen it about 500 times and there are still parts that make me excited or nervous. It is just a fun movie! All of the Indiana Jones movies are fun really…I just never understood the hatred for ToD. If you are looking for depth and substance you should look other places than the Indiana Jones movies. Take them for what they are and enjoy!

    • Kyle

      Agreed. Though it’s not as good as Lost Ark, TOD is underrated – kind of a nonstop thrill ride. Last Crusade is OK, but has too much humor and is kind of a rehash with the Nazis again.

      • Jennifer

        But the humor is the reason most of us enjoyed Last Crusade much more than Temple. It’s the cleverness that make it and Raiders true classics.

    • Ellis John

      Exactly Dave … The one thing I notice about “trending” topics is if a few people feel have the same opinion, then everyone else sheepishly follows suit. Temple of Doom is the second best of the series.

  • JD

    He’s right…the movie sucked hard. Actors can only do so much with a tedious, ridiculous premise. If there was going to be any finger pointing, I’d direct them Lucas’ way.

  • whatevs

    If a woman had made these comments, the reactions would be the complete opposite.

    • Leslie

      I don’t think that’s necessarily true, but it is interesting to read people’s reactions to Shia’s statements, & then compare them to how people reacted when Katherine Heigl made statements about the movies she’s worked on. But I think Shia’s comments were a bit more tactful but still direct. I don’t think your statement is a universal truth though.

      • thin

        Yeah, the problem with Katherine Heigl’s comments is that she just keeps doing it over and over again. When you complain publicly about nearly everyone that you’ve ever worked with, it stops feeling like refreshing honesty and moves on to sounding like something else.

      • fireflystare221

        I agree with you totally, thin.

      • linaf

        The difference is that Shia said it was HIS FAULT, he dropped the ball, he wasnt actor enough to lift the material, HE disappointed the fans. He takes part of the blame. Heigl doesn’t take the blame.

        Katherine Heigl puts the blame in the script, or the writers or the director; she never says that SHE also is at fault.

    • Q

      Amanda Seyfried’s comments about this season of Big Love (which has been universally panned) are a better example. She was just as tactful as Shia.

      • Q

        Sorry, that’s Chloe Sevingy, not amanda seyfriend. I have my bland blonds confused today.

  • sockgal

    Loved Crystal Skull, and my kids even liked it more than I did. We saw it three times in the theater that summer. It was a really hot summer and we live in the South, so there is nothing like a really great popcorn, ice drink and dark air conditioned movie theater when it is humid and 100 degree outside. It was a really great addition to the Indiana Jones movies. Sometimes you just need a great popcorn movie that makes you forget about life! You don’t always need an academy award winning movie about wars, crimes, or the horrids of someones life!

    • sockgal

      Just another note: I got goose bumps just hearing the great Indiana Jones theme music again! Brought back all kinds of great childhood memories. I am thankful that Lucas, Spielberg and Ford were willing to make another Indiana Jones and that they kept it in the same “over the top” story format. They all know exactly what the audience wants with these films and they delivered it! I was thrilled with the whole movie, and like Shia also. Loved that they brought back Marian. Shia is a really good actor, but please show some humility and gratefulness dude! You should be incredibly thankful that you got to work with such great filmmakers and actors. You should only be kissing their feet, not bashing them. That is no way to become an actor that the audience loves and adores.

  • Steve

    I thought the movie was ok, certainly entertaining. I think it is cool that Shia spoke his mind wants to make better movies. He knocked Transformers 2 as well and said the next one will be better. I appreciate what he said and like him more for saying it.

  • Strepsi

    I liked it too (though the swinging through the treetops scene WAS a lot much). It was light serial adventure fun. The only people who feel betrayed are the Entertainment media, who got themselves into a lather that this would be the Second frickin’ Coming (see: Darren Franich, “one of the darkest episodes in American history”, above)

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