Much was made on the Internet about Oliver Stone bruising Shia LeBeouf's ego before the start of "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." But as far as LeBeouf sees it, that was just Stone working to get a great performance out of him.
Stone told LeBeouf before cameras rolled, "Don't worry, Tom Cruise wasn't an actor when I first worked with him, either."
"He's wasn't being villainous or conniving," LeBeouf tells PopcornBiz. "He never said I wasn't an actor. His process is, he wants to tear an actor down to build him up."
"It's part of the process."
A big part of that was making sure that LeBeouf, coming off the monster box office success of the "Transformers" series, was going to come into the movie with his game face on.
"He didn't want an egotistical actor who thought he knew what was going on coming in," says LeBeouf. "He thought it was necessary to shake me up a bit. He wanted to instill fear in me."
In fact, the comment, which came at their second meeting, was crucial to elicit LeBeouf's performance as young Wall Street player Jake Moore.
"I needed to hear that," he says. "That was important to me."
And the two can live happily ever after, as the movie led the box office over the weekend (even if it was to mixed reviews).
So has Stone let him know that he's happy with the performance? "Definitely, in his own way?" says LeBeouf. "He's very happy with the film and very loving to me. We have a good friendship."
"I would work with Oliver any day of the week."
So does that mean there will be a "Wall Street III" follow-up? LeBeouf declines to go there.
"There are greater men than I working on that, gunga din," he says.