Hollywood veteran Mel Gibson has spoken out in defense of troubled actor Shia LaBeouf, insisting his recent bizarre behavior is proof he is "suffering in some way".
The Transformers star is currently seeking treatment for alcoholism after he was escorted out of a Broadway show and arrested following an altercation with theater security staff on June 26. He was subsequently charged with disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and harassment, but pleaded not guilty to the counts.
The incident was the latest in a string of headline-grabbing stunts, including wearing a brown paper bag on his head while walking the red carpet at a German film festival earlier this year and using the same prop as part of an odd art installation in Los Angeles.
Now Gibson, who has faced his own personal controversies, including a 2006 DUI arrest, during which he hurled anti-Semitic remarks at a Jewish police officer, admits he sympathises with LaBeouf, because he knows how hard living life under the public eye can be. However, Gibson is confident the 28 year old will bounce back from his troubles. In a candid interview with IndieWire.com, the Braveheart actor says, "You're a target. And you have to be really adept at tap dancing and dodging the bullets. And sometimes you get hit. And sometimes mortally. It's pretty bad. "When I see someone like Shia LaBeouf with the bag on his head and stuff, my heart goes out to the poor guy. I think he's suffering in some way. "Why would he do that? People are inclined to sort of point the finger at him and say that he's this, that, or the other. It's easy to judge. But I'm sure he's going through some kind of personal, very painful, cathartic thing that he has to exorcise and get out there. He'll probably play it out and come back. Whatever it happens to be. "He'll be all right. I actually like the kid. I think he's good. I never met him, but I like him."