Shia LaBeouf says playing his own dad in autobiographical film was like 'an exorcism'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy (Credit: Amazon)

Shia LaBeouf has compared playing his own dad in the movie Honey Boy to 'an exorcism'.

LaBeouf began writing the movie while he was in rehab for substance abuse issues in 2017, based by his childhood as a young actor working on the Disney Channel.

His father Jeffrey, a Vietnam veteran, struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol, and would often take his son to AA meetings growing up.

He was also physically and mentally abusive, introducing his son to cigarettes and marijuana at a young age.

Read more: Shia LaBeouf unrecognisable playing his own dad

“You excise demons,” he told Variety about playing his father, renamed Otis, in the movie. “This felt a little bit like an exorcism.”

He also added that he was advised not to proceed with the project, directed by his friend and collaborator Alma Har’el.

Shia LaBeouf during "American Wedding" Premiere in Universal City, California, United States. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

“My whole team, my whole professional team, was not with it. They were not wanting me to do this,” he said.

“But at that point, I didn’t have a whole lot to lose. I was in a wild spot in my life.”

LaBeouf was arrested for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and obstruction while making the film Peanut Butter Falcon in Savannah, Georgia.

His profane outburst at police officers was recorded on a bodycam, and later went viral.

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He later went into a court-ordered rehab, where he was diagnosed with PTSD and underwent drug rehabilitation.

LaBeouf went on to say that his relationship with his father now is transformed.

Shia LaBeouf, Noah Jupe, and Alma Har'el attend the "Honey Boy" premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TIFF)

“He’s a very happy dude. I talked to him in the car on the way up here. He’s such a sweet old man now,” he added.

“It’s complicated still like any relationship with a parent but we’re in a way better place and he’s in a way better place.”

The movie is already receiving rave reviews, and will play in competition in this year’s London Film Festival, tickets for which went on sale today.