Shia LaBeouf red carpet brown suit
Getty Images / David M. Benett

Shia LaBeouf fully committed to his role in David Ayer’s new crime drama, The Tax Collector. The director revealed in an interview that LaBeouf went so far as to get a real chest tattoo while immersing himself into his character, Creeper, a tax collector for his crime lord boss, Wizard.

“He’s one of the best actors I’ve worked with, and he’s the most committed to body and soul,” Ayer said. “He had a tooth pulled on Fury, and then on Tax Collector, he got his whole chest tattooed. So he kind of goes all in, and I’ve never known anyone that committed.”

Artist Bryan Ramirez revealed that the upper portion of LaBeouf’s tattoo is dedicated to his parents, while the bottom piece incorporates the character’s name, Creeper. You can see the tattoo below.

LaBeouf’s role in The Tax Collector is already courting controversy, however. Since the trailer dropped last week, Ayer has been criticized for casting a white actor (LeBeouf) in the role of a Latino character and for making a “cop movie” amid ongoing police brutality against Black and brown people in the United States.

However, Ayer has responded that it isn’t a cop movie and LaBeouf is playing a white character. “Shia is playing a whiteboy who grew up in the hood. This is a Jewish dude playing a white character. Also the only white dude in the movie,” he responded. Replying to another tweet, he clarified, “It ain’t a cop movie. And Shia is playing something very specific. Not brown face.”

While Ayer may have clarified some of the ambiguities within the trailer, his subsequent comments have shone a spotlight on the issue of “brownfacing” in street culture. “I grew up hood and I’m a whiteboy” he argued. “Chicano culture is inclusive – I’ve seen whiteys, Asians, Blacks, Filipinos all putting in work for the hood. It’s part of street culture.”

The Tax Collector arrives in theaters on August 7.

Weekend Staff Writer

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.