Los Angeles - James Franco hopes Shia LaBeouf doesn't ruin his career in his quest to show he is an "artist".
The Spring Breakers star believes the 27-year-old actor's recent antics - which have included a silent art installation called #IAMSORRY, donning a paper bag on his head for the German premiere of Nymphomaniac and repeatedly insisting on twitter that he is no longer famous - are part of a bid for him to "reclaim his public persona".
He wrote in an essay for the New York Times newspaper: "This behaviour could be a sign of many things, from a nervous breakdown to mere youthful recklessness.
"For Mr. LaBeouf's sake I hope it is nothing serious. Indeed I hope - and, yes, I know that this idea has pretentious or just plain ridiculous overtones - that his actions are intended as a piece of performance art, one in which a young man in a very public profession tries to reclaim his public persona...
"I think Mr. LaBeouf's project, if it is a project, is a worthy one. I just hope that he is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist."
Franco - who also compared Shia's actions with those of Marlon Brando and Joaquin Phoenix - said he understood what the Transformers star was trying to do because he himself has done his best to change ideas of what people expect from Hollywood stars.
He wrote: "At times I have felt the need to dissociate myself from my work and public image. In 2009, when I joined the soap opera General Hospital at the same time as I was working on films that would receive Oscar nominations and other critical acclaim, my decision was in part an effort to jar expectations of what a film actor does and to undermine the tacit - or not so tacit - hierarchy of entertainment."
YOU CAN READ FRANCO'S FULL LETTER HERE.
(Shia LaBeouf poses for photographers at the Berlin Film Festival. AP)
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