“My world had crumbled,” said Shia LaBeouf of a time in his life not too long ago which involved car crashes, court-ordered rehab, emotional outbursts — including the disruption of Broadway’s Cabaret starring Emma Stone — as well as out-and-out violent episodes and a lawsuit by his Honey Boy co-star FKA Twigs accusing the actor of sexual battery and assault. That case goes to trial in April.
Included in that long list of life lessons was his dismissal from Olivia Wilde’s buzzy Don’t Worry Darling. Wilde spoke about the decision for the first time in an interview this week with Variety.
“I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work,” she said. “His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances.”
LaBeouf has since admitted in an interview that he felt a need for friction and conflict to drive his performances. It also nearly drove him out of the industry.
“At this point I’m nuclear,” LaBeouf remembered about that time in the interview.”Nobody wants to talk to me, including my mother. My manager’s not calling. The agent’s not calling. I’m not connected to the business any more.”
At the time, he intimated, he was ready to commit suicide.
“I had a gun on the table. I was outta here,” he said in the aforementioned YouTube interview with Word on Fire Catholic Ministries’ Bishop Robert Barron. “I didn’t want to be alive anymore when all this happened. Shame like I had never experienced before — the kind of shame that you forget how to breathe. You don’t know where to go. You can’t go outside and get like a, a taco.”
LaBeouf said that his life had been saved, that he had gotten to the other side of that dark period as a result of his conversion to Roman Catholicism, which itself was prompted by research to play the titular character in Abel Ferrera’s upcoming film about the controversial 20th-Century monk, Padre Pio. The film is world premiering in competition in Venice via the fest’s parallel sidebar Giornate degli Autori.
The actor revealed the genesis of the project was meeting Ferrara in a Zoom meeting for a “spiritual program” to which they both ascribe.
“I’m in this spiritual program. We have meetings. And another person who was in these meetings was Abel Ferrera.”
The actor continued, “He wrote me in the chat box, ‘You know about Padre Pio?’”
LaBeouf says the result is he’s been able to let go of what he calls “Old Me” and see that “my life had led to serious infliction of pain and damage on other people.”
He even says of the person he calls “the woman who accused me of all this” that, while “I wanted to go on Twitter and write all these things…I wanted to justify all this and explain. Now I see that…The woman saved my life. She was, for me, a saint in my life. She saved my life.”