I’ve been somewhat watching you career since its inception. I was a little too old to watch Even Steven; however, I did see pieces of it when my slightly younger sister watched it. I’ve also seen Holes, and every other movie you’ve been in. Distrubia, one of my faves. So I think I’m qualified to write this letter to you. You’ll probably never read it, but I wanted to let you know that someone cares about you and wishes you well.
I wanted to start this off by saying that I’m not one of those people who love to see a celebrity fall from grace. I’ve been around for a few and some were people I was really, genuinely routing for. Like Lindsay Lohan. My friend and I really took to her; I think it was the red hair. We thought that she was different from the barrage of blondes that were infecting Hollywood at the time, i.e., Britney, Christina and Paris; all blondes and all around the same age. We edged our bets on her and we lost big time. I don’t want that to happen to you. I know that this is none of my business, but I’m still going to write this.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be that famous. The thought of it sometimes frightens me, but you and others like you seem so brave. You simply plow head first into the fray and throw off fear like an old article of clothing that tried it’s best to hold you back. I guess if we were all like that more people would be famous and there would be no one to watch. But I’m easily distracted, and that was way off my point.
It must have been overwhelming to go from being relatively famous, to being ridiculously well-known and thrust into the limelight. I mean iRobot was great, but I don’t think it showed off your charisma and talent like playing Sam Witwicky in Transformers did. And if memory serves, Transformers was a much bigger ticket for you. I know there were movies before Transformers… iRobot, Constantine, and even Disturbia, and I’m sure the light of your fame was shining so brightly that it might have almost blinded you. But I’m sure nothing was as impressive as the ultra-piercing gleam from that movie. It was just as Michael Bay described it, “Lightning in a bottle.” After that everyone knew your name and most people actually pronounced it correctly.
I remember catching you on David Letterman and I marveled at how effortlessly you made the audience laugh. Maybe it was rehearsed, or repeated so many times that it seemed organic, but I knew that I was watching the birth of a star. Whatever it was in the atmosphere that crashed together and exploded to create that fire in the sky that shines down on us was all around you and I was so happy for the kid from Even Steven.
I don’t like to call myself a fan. I know that it is short for fanatic, and it’s not like I had pictures of you taped to the inside of my locker or posters of you pinned to my wall, but I did go see movies just for the shear fact that you were in them. I don’t know what that makes me, but whatever you did, it looked like you filled it was a passion that only great actor’s, artists, singers, anyone happy at work filled their art with. It was magic. Only a few of you have it. I’m sure that’s why Hollywood is such a monster. It seems to kill talent while cultivating it.
I’m not old enough to understand or know all the details behind River Phoenix’s death, but I know he was an oddity in Hollywood as well. I thought that he was dreamy. My childhood crush was a crush just because of looks and nothing else, but I was old enough to see that his path into Hollywood, with the odd movies, and dark messages wasn’t normal. He wasn’t Tom Cruise who I love but has to intentionally pick dark roles, while they seemed to naturally fall into River’s lap. He reminds me of Brittany Murphy, another dark actor. And how unfortunate that they are both dead, and at a time when their youth and fame was beginning to propel them into stardom.
I know that Philip Seymour Hoffman was troubled. He had to have been taking drugs at a time when the next Hunger Games was about to be filmed. When you are struggling to get yourself off the ground, it is hard to understand why anyone would mess up their ascent into the stratosphere. It was reported that Hoffman said that he hoped that if he died his death would deter others from using drugs. A noble gesture; however, Whitney, Brittany, Nicole, Amy all died in the same way and it didn’t make a ripple in his life, so why should his sacrifice mean anything to anyone coming up now? It doesn’t. I can tell from the odd things that have been happening in Hollywood this year. I mean, Justin Bieber is acting a damn fool and a part of me things that its origins are drug fueled.
I don’t want to speculate as to why you would be drinking, if you really are drinking, or if the media is just blowing everything out of proportion as they do, but I wanted to say a couple things if it is alcoholism.
I have watched some people I love deal with addiction and the only thing that I can tell you is that when they get drunk or high, it didn’t kill the pain, they were dealing with it in that state and it caused more damage than it did good. Someone I knew lost a child and it was hard to watch her blame herself and self-medicate with what everyone thinks is a harmless drug. She spoke of the event and other things that were haunting her each time she got high. It was her time to lay her burden on me, but it never helped because it was a never ending cycle for her and I. That is, until it ended.
I also know an alcoholic. She torments herself when she gets drunk enough, and once again I was stuck hearing about the past, even the fictional one that she created in order to make herself feel better about all her life’s wonders. None of those wonders will heal because the drink isn’t even a Band-Aid; it’s an illusion of one. If you are suffering from something, not drinking won’t make it go away. It’s time for real help.
12 step programs are great, but some people need to start taking those steps in a facility where they can also get help to fight the demons that attack once they’re alone. One can fight by themselves all the time and maybe the people around you aren’t willing to help, so ask someone licensed to help. I would assume that you have been surrounded with people who smile in your face because they just want to be close enough to let the light of your stardom shine on them. I’m sure the money helped them to be more attentive and say yes a lot too.
Well no Shia, you shouldn’t take this one lying down. Fight for your sanity, and your talent, and your life. If you die it won’t mean anything to anyone but your parents. The rest of us will go on as if you were never there because that is the nature of humanity. We might morn, and we might be sad for a time, but then time, who has no master, marches on without you and anyone of us smart enough not to get caught in the dazzle and menace of drugs and alcohol or whatever monsters are out there, will have to march on with it.
It’s not too late to say no to whatever it is that is trying to consume you as you consume the poison that is responsible for your slow descent into madness and a possible death. It’s time for a movie. Come on, Lawless was so amazing that I’ve watched it half dozen times. If you can’t get into one, write one. I’m so sure that you can do it. I believe in you even if you don’t. Please don’t be Lindsay. You can possible be Robert Downey Jr. but why would you even chance it? It’s time to change the story. I know that there is someone out there to help you. I wish you all the best.
One Hopeful Admirer.