Aint It Cool News’ Drew McWeeny is reporting that he has reliable sources telling him that Shia LaBeouf is going to be starring in Indiana Jones IV as the son of Indy. I can’t tell you if he’s playing Indy’s son or just the new Short Round, but I can tell you that I have heard this exact same thing, and from a source that’s pretty impeccable. As far as I am concerned, this is not a rumor but the truth.
Is it a good idea? Hell no. I like Shia LaBeouf, for real. I have interviewed him a couple of times, and recently I had a good talk with him at a dinner after a screening of his upcoming teenage version of Rear Window, Disturbia, and he’s a genuinely nice, funny guy who doesn’t have some kind of inflated sense of himself. And he’s serious about being more than just the kid from Even Stevens – LaBeouf wants to be a real actor, even if he knows he has to spend time in movies like Transformers to make a name and give himself the opportunity to do meatier things.
But Spielberg isn’t bringing LaBeouf on to play a meaty role. Whether he’s just the kid sidekick or Indy’s son, LaBeouf is going to be doing a lot of comic relief in this movie. Having a young sidekick also indicates to me that this is going to be tonally more juvenile than I would like it to be (although technically I would rather this movie not get made at all). LaBeouf’s screen presence is inherently light hearted, quite unlike that of River Phoenix, the last young actor to play a role in these films. If there is an Indy Jr in Indy IV, I’d rather be played by a Phoenix type, someone with some danger, than the more genial LaBeouf.