After having claimed that the 2019 drama Honey Boy was largely inspired by his own troubled childhood, particularly his strained relationship with his father, actor Shia LaBeouf has now admitted to taking major creative liberties on the project, which he also wrote. Speaking to his Fury co-star Jon Bernthal on his Real Ones podcast, LaBeouf said that he had “wronged” his father by fictionalizing crucial details about their relationship.
Directed by Alma Har’el, Honey Boy was released in 2019 to positive reviews for LaBeouf’s performance, and his soul-baring screenplay. He wrote the film as a part of his rehabilitation program, and said after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival that it felt strange and selfish to “fetishize” his pain and “make a product out of it.” He also claimed, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that prior to making the movie, he hadn’t spoken to his father in “six, seven years.” In the film, LaBeouf played a version of his own dad, while his younger self was played by Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges.
He told Bernthal that the depiction of his dad Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf in Honey Boy was “fucking nonsense.” He also revealed that his father had never raised his hand on him in real life. In his own words:
“Here’s a man who I’ve done vilified on a grand scale… I wrote this narrative, which was just fucking nonsense. My dad was so loving to me my whole life. Fractured, sure. Crooked, sure. Wonky, for sure. But never was not loving, never was not there. He was always there… and I’d done a world press tour about how fucked he was as a man.”
LaBeouf said that his father was surprised by what he saw in the film, because none of the thorny material was in the script that his son had sent him. “I turned the knob up on certain shit that wasn’t real,” the actor said, adding that it was all a ploy to get his father’s permission to make the movie. LaBeouf continued, “My dad never hit me, never. He spanked me once, one time. And the story that gets painted in Honey Boy is, this dude is abusing his kid all the time.” He added that he “took accountability” for his actions in a phone call with his father, but acknowledged that his dad would have to live with a “certain narrative” about himself, “probably for the rest of his life.”
Essentially canceled after the abuse allegations leveled against him by his former partner (and Honey Boy co-star) FKA Twigs, LaBeouf — once earmarked as Hollywood’s next big leading man — recently reemerged in the public eye. Last week, he claimed that director Olivia Wilde had made inaccurate assertions about the circumstances leading to his departure from her upcoming film Don’t Worry Darling, in which he was replaced by Harry Styles. Though Wilde had said that he was fired from the film, LaBeouf claimed that the decision was mutual.
LaBeouf was last seen in director Kornél Mundruczó’s Oscar-nominated drama Pieces of a Woman. He will next be seen in director Abel Ferrara’s Padre Pio.