Writer/director Emilio Estevez’ dramatic film, Bobby, has a cast that includes Sir Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Fishburne, William H Macy, Sharon Stone, Demi Moore, Elijah Wood and Lindsay Lohan. Yet it’s the performances of Shia LaBeouf (Greatest Game Ever Played, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) and Brian Geraghty (Jarhead) that steal the show. Geraghty and LaBeouf play a pair of Robert F Kennedy campaign workers who opt to trip out on LSD rather than knock on doors to get out the vote on the last day of Kennedy's '68 campaign.
LaBeouf and Geraghty claim the buddy relationship they share onscreen came naturally. Paired up to do publicity rounds for Estevez’ Robert F Kennedy project, the two actors easy camaraderie wasn’t forced or artificial.
Relaxing on a couple of lounge chairs next to a hotel pool, LaBeouf and Geraghty spoke with passion about working with Estevez. Both young actors are proud of the film and the part they played in bringing the story of 22 people affected by the assassination of Kennedy to audiences.
This is a story Emilio Estevez has been laboring over for years. What do you think of his commitment to the film?
Shia LaBeouf: “He worked on this for seven years. It’s been a long time… He’s dedicated. He’s passionate about it, plus he’s talented. He knows almost everybody in the business.”
Well, almost everybody in the business was in the movie.
Shia LaBeouf: “This was a movie only Emilio could have done. I don’t know of any other directors that could have morphed… You’ve got to understand, there’s a bunch of different acting techniques in this movie. To be so selfless as to give people freedom and allow them to do what they want, you need an actor to work with actors. You know, we didn’t have any ego trips and that was because Emilio was like a psychiatrist to all of us. He walked us through the situation, and you needed him for that. You also needed him because, again, he knew most everybody in the cast and brought them together on some favor s**t. Nobody got paid. I still haven’t signed my contract. It was all like, it was Emilio.
Also, he has a connection with Bobby that a lot of people don’t share. And his whole family is, you know, his father played Bobby a few years back. They’ve loved Bobby since Bobby was Bobby. He’s been a rock star to that family for a long time. Plus, you look at his family; they’re almost like the Kennedy’s of Hollywood, except not as tragic. But they have that type of legendary lineage. So Emilio was like the perfect director for this movie, and it shows I think.”
Does it put added pressure on you knowing you have to get it right for Emilio Estevez because he’s been working on telling this story for so long?
Shia LaBeouf: “No, I didn’t have any pressure. The funnest, safest, most enjoyable set I’ve ever been on. Ever.”
Was that because of Emilio?
Shia LaBeouf: “It was from him, it was from Brian, from the rest of the cast. You understand, it was me and Brian the whole time, me and him the whole time. Because we felt safe, anytime I would lose my line he would pick it up. Anytime he’d lose his s**t I’d pick him up. There was just this camaraderie that we shared. It felt like we were a team. Plus I could blame him for any of my f**k-ups and vice versa (laughing).
What did it take for you to capture the buddy relationship your characters share in the film?
Brian Geraghty: “We’re lucky. It never happens. That’s the thing with this movie, everything in this whole film… Like, I was working on another movie almost simultaneously but right after I went to work for three months. He went to work on two or three other movies. I just never had everything fall into place. First of all, I had the other movie first – it was a studio film - the dates weren’t working on this.”
Shia LaBeouf: “He’s talking about The Guardian.”
Brian Geraghty: “I did The Guardian. I wanted to quit it because I was like, I’d rather do this movie because it just felt more natural. It’s a different movie, you know? That’s a different movie. This is the kind of movie that everyone dreams of being in. Even some of the other films I’ve done, I’ve always dreamed of being in them, and it just worked out. I showed up, we had a lot of dialogue, we had a lot of scenes with this cast. I’ve never had anything like that happen. Everything fell into place. Shia…I was like, ‘This kid is probably going to be a prick.’ We just got along, respected each other. We really raised the bar for each other. We brought our performances to this level, particularly during the acid scene.”
Your performances really stand-out in the film.
Shia LaBeouf: “I really think that it’s because of camaraderie. I think it’s because of the relationship. None of it was forced. We weren’t bulls**tting. It wasn’t like we were acting. This is stuff where we were just enjoying ourselves. I swear to God, it was the easiest performance.”
Brian Geraghty: “Me, too. It was effortless. That’s the thing: I showed up, I memorized my lines, I knew what I knew about Kennedy, and the acid trip… I could sit here right now with him and do the acid trip probably by knowing what I know. We can just take it to the level because I trust in him, trust in Emilio, I trust Ashton [Kutcher – plays the drug dealer]. It was like we didn’t care. You can feel the risk with one person, but we kind of had two. I think that was a big thing.”
Shia LaBeouf: “We were always risking. I’d fall on my face and then when he’d fall on his face and I’d look at him fall on his face and I’d say, ‘All right, I’m gonna do it, too.’ You felt comfortable. Plus Emilio doesn’t scrutinize or make comments. He lets you find the emotions for yourself.”
Brian Geraghty: “You forget a scene, you don’t do it right, you have a bad day, he’s like, ‘Do it again. No big deal.’”
Shia LaBeouf: “He literally won’t even stop the cameras. ‘One more, one more, just go, just go!’” He would also say s**t like, ‘Whenever you’re ready.’ He’d roll the cameras and say, ‘Whenever you’re ready.’ He wouldn’t even call ‘action’. I never heard him say that.”