- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 04 February 2015
Irrelevance: every celebrity’s worst nightmare. Clearly, Shia LaBeouf can attest to that. The 29-year-old actor has been struggling with the transition from a popularly sought-out actor, to wearing a paper bag that reads, “I Am Not Famous Anymore;” a very natural and common response to feeling forgotten (or not). Though it may be hard to imagine why, this bold move certainly drew the attention of the media and its viewers, including singer and performer Sia.
Sia is an up-and-coming female pop artist, commonly known for her hit single, “Chandelier.” Her latest music video, Elastic Heart, features two interestingly selected people, the “not-so-famous” LaBeouf, and 12-year-old and Dance Moms star, Maddie Ziegler. Though this is an interesting pair for a music video, it is not nearly as interesting as the setting of the video.
There are two things that negatively drew my attention: the concept and the visual. In this video, Sia places LaBeouf and Ziegler on opposite sides of a cage. The video opens with the two staring at each other with obvious hostility in their eyes.
LaBeouf is wearing small, tight nude shorts, and Ziegler is wearing a nude leotard. Though it would not be my outfit of choice, the clothes are not what I find strange. Instead, I find it weird that the two are made up to look basically nude together. Keep in mind that LaBeouf is 29 and that Ziegler is 12. Knowing about this drastic age gap turns this video to a somewhat creepy scene and is hard to get past while watching.
So when the video begins, LaBeouf and Ziegler begin an interpretive style of dance, appearing to act like animals.
According to ET Online, Ziegler said, “‘I’m supposed to be portraying a werewolf and pretty much Shia and I have been just living in the cage for a year and I’m the strong one and I’m trying to pretty much kill him.’” Ziegler begins the dance by pretending to be weak, forcing LaBeouf to let his guard down. Then, she takes advantage of this and throws him into the wall of the cage, kicks him, and leaves the cage, thereby leaving him alone. Once she leaves the cage, LaBeouf starts screaming and punching the iron cage. He also aggressively grabs onto her so that she cannot leave, which I find uncomfortable to watch. It is hard for my mind to escape the fact that a twenty-nine year old man is being so aggressive with a young girl.
Ziegler shared her opinion on the aggression in the video. ET Online states, “‘Every time in between takes they would say, ‘You need to be more aggressive. You need to bite him harder. You need to slap him harder.’ And I’m like, ‘I can’t. I don’t want to slap someone. That’s scary.”
This puts the aggression of the video in another light, because I know that she did not want to do it- after all, she is only 12. I do not completely understand why Sia chose to have Ziegler be the girl for this video, knowing that she planned to have such an intense video. A young woman would have been a better fit for the role rather than a girl. Also, kids generally do not have much experience in the field of dealing with emotional pain and heartbreak.
I asked two of my friends that had never seen the video to watch it in order to gain a new, perspective. One of my friends found it to be just as strange and uncomfortable as I did. My other friend, however, did not see it this way. She had been a dancer for most of her life, so she was able to see it from a more aesthetically appreciative perspective. She said that one must overlook who the dancers are, and focus on the dance itself. To credit them, Ziegler and LaBeouf do a decent job of telling a story and moving in a way that can elicit emotion from the viewers. Whether that emotion is positive or negative, it is still serving its purpose as a work of art.
IMAGE TAKEN from NY Daily News