Marvel Studios was reportedly eyeing Shia LaBeouf for a superhero role before the actor was hit with a sexual battery lawsuit. Best known for his roles in the Transformers movies and his days as a Disney child star, he’s been through some rough years battling substance abuse.
Now, however, LaBeouf finds himself in the middle of a controversy after his ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against him claiming that he subjected her to various types of abuse. The pair met on the set of Honey Boy, which was the actor’s well-received autobiographical film, and began dating. According to Twigs, LaBeouf was physically and verbally abusive to her; on top of that, the actor also knowingly infected her with STD in an effort to control her in the relationship. Since coming out with this information, Twigs has received overwhelming support from her peers in the industry and the public.
Before these charges came to light, however, Marvel Studios was even eyeing LaBeouf for a superhero role in the MCU. A report from Variety indicates Kevin Feige and his team were impressed by the actor following the success of Honey Boy. Other specific details weren’t provided, including what role they were eyeing him for, but the outlet says that as these allegations slowly come to light, Marvel backed out and never actually took a meeting with LaBeouf.
Marvel Studios is known for its stellar casting, often taking risks with their hires just as long as they’re perfect for the intended project. In its more than a decade run, the MCU has brought in a variety of talents both in front of and behind the camera and for the most part, these choices ultimately worked. Considering the success of Honey Boy, followed by another critical hit The Peanut Butter Falcon, it’s understandable that LaBeouf caught the eye of Feige and company.
Admittedly, LaBeouf doesn’t seem to be the type of actor who takes on superhero roles, but through the years, the MCU has turned the likes of Chris Pratt and Paul Rudd into bonafide comic book heroes. Marvel Studios is also notorious for fostering a great working environment for their projects. So while LaBeouf, as an actor, may have been perfect for a role, they might have been turned off by claims that he’s difficult to work with. After all, with an established brand, they can simply seek other actors who are also able to do a good job, if not better, who won’t cause production issues. Most importantly, casting an actor who’s accused of hurting and abusing women as a superhero is simply wrong, especially since he’s previously admitted to having these tendencies.
It’s worth noting that Marvel Studios has also never shied from hiring actors that have been plagued with personal issues before. In the mid-2000s, Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t the global star that he is right now. The actor was bogged down by a history of addiction issues and even served a stint in prison, but Iron Man director Jon Favreau risked it and cast him as Tony Stark anyway and the rest is history. To be fair, however, Downey was never accused of harassment like LaBeouf is now; he was just having substance dependency problems. By the time he joined the MCU, he was several years sober and, ultimately, he made sure to make the most out of the opportunity that he was given.