(CBS News) -- Shia LaBeouf is baring all -- well sort of -- in the sexually explicit drama, "Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1."
The former "Transformers" actor stars in the new film from acclaimed Danish director Lars von Trier, about a woman named Joe (frequent von Trier collaborator Charlotte Gainsbourg) who traces her numerous erotic encounters, from early adolescence into adulthood.
While graphic sex scenes are depicted among the main characters, the actors' genital areas were digitally replaced with those of professional porn actors and props.
The film marks yet another departure for LaBeouf from his old Disney child star days. The 27-year-old actor has been in the spotlight lately for a series of PR mishaps and eccentric displays of behavior. In December, he was forced toapologize to Daniel Clowes, after he was accused of plagiarizing the cartoonist's work.
In January, LaBeouf announced that he was retiring from public life. A month later, he was seen wearing a bag over his head, with the words "I am not famous anymore" written on it, during the "Nymphoniac" premiere at this year's Berlin Film Festival. He was also seen wearing the bag again shortly after in the "IAmSorry" Los Angeles art installation.
But now it seems that James Franco isn't the only one coming to LaBeouf's defense.
In recent interviews with CBS News, LaBeouf's "Nymphomaniac" co-stars had nothing but kind words to say about him.
"Oh, he's just going through something," co-star Uma Thurman said, "He's an incredibly sweet and sensitive soul and I think a natural-born artist."
Fellow co-star Christian Slater was also impressed by LaBeouf.
"He's committed, he's passionate, he gave a phenomenal performance in this movie. I love the guy," Slater said.
Stellan Skarsgard was quick to come to LaBeouf's defense.
"Whatever his reasons for carrying bags over his head or whatever, whatever his reasons are, I'll support it," Skarsgard said. "I think you can wear what kind of hat you want."
Watch video above to see what the stars had to say about what it was like working with von Trier.
The final cut of "Nymphomaniac" was originally over 5 1/2 hours in length, but distributors have since split the film into two shortened parts, now totaling roughly four hours in length.
"Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1" opens in limited release on Friday. It's also now available to watch at home through Video On Demand.