You're walking in the woods. There's no one around, and your phone is dead. Out of the corner of your eye you spot him. How do YOU beat Shia Labeouf?

I should have known better. Or at the very least, I should have run while I had the chance. The moment I smelled it - that cat-urine and hipster-beer musk Labeouf had been pissing everywhere to mark his territory. I knew I was in trouble.

It happened in August of 2013, back when "Fury" was still filming and Labeouf was pulling out his own teeth to prove he was the better actor. I was a PA for the production company - basically I walked around with a clipboard and walkie-talkie trying to look like I was working. It was a good gig and seemed like it might lead to further work down the line. The only problem was the production delays. Or more specifically, the delays caused by one of the actors.

By the end of the first week three other PA's had gone missing and Labeouf was nowhere to be found. For a while his handlers were able to track him by scent, wrangling him back into the tank with a length of rope and wooden pole, but this system proved too cumbersome after he broke free and mauled a makeup girl. I think it was Pitt who decided to let him roam free during the day, and shoot the night scenes when he returned to the set, exhausted and hungry. The promise of fresh beef and dime-bags of cocaine had an incredibly rejuvenating effect on his acting abilities. And to be fair, he was actually a pretty great actor when he wanted to be. We were all suitably impressed by his ability to cry convincingly on camera.

It was while Pitt and that Walking Dead actor led a party of searchers (including myself) through the forest that I noticed that I had become separated. And it was then that I noticed the scent. Subtle at first, but as I got lost deeper into the woods, it became stronger, and then overwhelming; like somebody had dumped a full litter box into the microwave and set the timer for an hour.

And then I saw him. Hunched over, bits of meat stuck between his remaining teeth, he seemed more animal than actor now, wearing what remained of his WW2 costume and a necklace of what looked like human ear props. He'd been wearing it for weeks, trying to get into the role. Nobody had the heart to tell him that was a thing from Vietnam and not WW2. I don't know what the meat was, but I fervently hoped it was a deer or some other woodland creature. The alternative was just too horrible to think about. From the nose down, he was covered in blood.

I tried to freeze, hoping he wouldn't notice me. So far so good, as he remained on his haunches gnawing at the chunk of flesh. But then everything went pear shaped. As I started backing away, a twig snapped beneath my heel.


He turned with a surprising grace, clutching at the meat as if somebody might take it away from him. Those cocaine-deprived eyes, bloodshot and runny, turned and locked onto mine. He stood, coming to his full height, those eyes never me.


I should have run. He was barefoot, he probably wouldn't have caught up with me. But I was starting to panic, and logic and reason had decided they had better things to do than deal with this shit. Instead I turned, looking for a stick or rock to defend myself. He came right for me. And when Labeouf comes for you, he comes with his mouth, not his claws.

God he was fast. I started backing away faster, but already he was on me, that feverish, sticky body pinning me to the ground, his teeth bared and jaw clenched. I knew that if I didn't fight, if I didn't dedicate myself to the idea of living past the next thirty seconds, I would probably end up like that chunk of meat he'd dropped only a few moments before.

The battle itself was brutal. I really only remember flashes of it. In some ways, I'm glad I can't recall the details. The moments that I do remember are just too horrible. I do remember one thing. His eyes. You know the thing about Labeouf when he's off the white... he's got... lifeless eyes. Terrible, terrible things to look at, like the eyes of a dog that needs to be put down. Terrible and sad....until you make the mistake of making eye contact. Then those black eyes roll over and go white and he's on top of you, then you hear that terrible high pitch screaming and the forest floor turns red.

That's how I woke up. Bleeding in the dirt, rabid bite marks on my cheek and brow. If there hadn't been a hospital a half-hour away, I don't think I would have survived. Hell, they even managed to save some of my fingers. I wouldn't find out until a few days later that Pitt had shown up, managing to chase him off and eventually drive him into a tiger trap, where he remained until hunger and cocaine withdrawal made him more manageable.

I learned something important that day. There is no beating Labeouf. There's only surviving Labeouf.

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