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Shia LaBeouf's downward spiral
02:30 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Shia LaBeouf formally charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, harassment

He lit up a cigarette, disrupted a play, police say; he was staggering, theatergoers say

They say they thought he was putting on an act, studying for a new role

LaBeouf has made an art of apologizing in an acting piece he calls #IAMSORRY

New York CNN  — 

Actor Shia LaBeouf has literally made an art of apologizing for a chain of ill deeds. He added a link to that chain late Thursday when, police said, he lit up a cigarette in a Broadway theater.

The “Transformers” actor was led away in handcuffs from a showing of “Cabaret” at a theater at New York’s Studio 54. He was drunk and had been disruptive in the theater, police said.

On Friday, a tired-looking LaBeouf was silent as he left a Manhattan courtroom after being released on his own recognizance. Represented by a legal aid lawyer during his brief court appearance, the actor was formally charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and harassment.

In court, a prosecutor voiced concern about releasing LaBeouf without bail, but the defense lawyer noted the media buzz that his failure to appear for his July 24 court day would generate. The actor was surrounded by reporters and photographers for several blocks after leaving court.

LaBeouf had been sitting in the audience at Studio 54, CNN affiliate WABC reported, when he allegedly disrupted the show during the first act. A criminal complaint said he allegedly yelled “loudly at the actors onstage” and refused to leave.

As a police officer escorted the actor out of the theater, LeBeouf allegedly said, ” “F— you. This is f—ing bull—. Do you know my life? Do you know who the f— I am? Do you know who I am,” the complaint said.

At the police precinct, the actor spat in the direction of the officer and cursed at him, according to prosecutors.

LaBeouf was held overnight.

Two women in the audience thought that LaBeouf’s outburst was an act, they told WABC.

“He was brilliant,” one said. “I thought he was working on a role or something.”

His alleged belligerence may have all been an act, just like the next apology the public can expect from him.

In February, he started a performance art exhibit in Los Angeles titled #IAMSORRY, in which he apologizes for a litany of transgressions while he wears a paper bag over his head.

He was also dressed for the role during Friday’s outburst, the two theatergoers said. He staggered around in a torn shirt with the cigarette and was mixing with the crowd. He walked up to a woman at the theater bar, fed her a strawberry by hand and tipped the bartender, they said.

LaBeouf rose to fame at age 14 as the star of the Disney series “Even Stevens.” He has stayed busy with regular movie and TV roles since the late 1980s, including starring in three “Transformers” films. Of late, he has played in films with a more literary appeal, such as “Nymphomaniac” and “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.”

He co-stars with Brad Pitt in the upcoming movie “Fury,” according to LaBeouf’s profile on the Internet Movie Database.

Last year, LaBeouf, who has also written screenplays, was accused of plagiarizing another writer’s work.

CNN’s Steve Kastenbaum contributed to this report.