It’s always risky business when the star of a film is too close to the material, but sometimes it can turn into something truly magical. That’s the hope with Shia LaBeouf’s Honey Boy. The film, which he wrote, fictionalizes his own rise to stardom, troubled relationship with his father, and his fall into rehab and mental issues. How close is Shia to the material? Well, along with writing it, as mentioned above, he is also portraying his own father in the film.
We’ve only seen the one trailer for the movie and it looks like it could be a sobering look into what childhood stardom does to a kid and everyone that surrounds him. With any luck, the film will not only be as well-received as it looks like it deserves to be, but it may also provide LaBeouf with the catharsis that he needs to live the rest of his life without the struggle that has he has so publicly experienced over the last several years.
From a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf, based on his own experiences, award-winning filmmaker Alma Har’el (Bombay Beach, LoveTrue) brings to life a young actor’s stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health. Fictionalizing his ascent to stardom, and subsequent crash-landing into rehab and recovery, Har’el casts Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) and Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased, Manchester by the Sea) as Otis Lort, navigating different stages in a frenetic career. LaBeouf takes on the therapeutic challenge of playing a version of his own father, an ex-rodeo clown and a felon. Dancer-singer FKA twigs makes her feature-film debut, playing neighbor and kindred spirit to the younger Otis in their garden-court motel home. Har’el’s feature narrative debut is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between filmmaker and subject, exploring art as medicine and imagination as hope through the life and times of a talented, traumatized performer who dares to go in search of himself.