Inside Shia LaBeouf’s Career Meltdown After Sexual Battery Lawsuit
A year ago, Shia LaBeouf was seeing a revival in her career. After LaBeouf received multiple acclaim for his autobiographical film "Honey Boy", which he wrote and in which he played the lead role, and the indie drama "The Peanut Butter Falcon", he got a coveted role in the upcoming thriller "Don't." Worry Darling ". the much anticipated follow-up to Olivia Wilde's breakout "Booksmart".
The project was very busy in town and sparked a major bid war before it landed on New Line. A handful of high-profile actors searched for the role that would ultimately be LaBeouf. For LaBeouf, "Don't Worry Darling" was a professional win. After a well-documented string of legal troubles and a bizarre timeline of erratic behavior and stints in rehab that led many studios to distance themselves from him, the film signaled LaBeouf's possible return to a mainstream career.
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But then, in September, LaBeouf was officially removed from the project. Instead, studio sources announced that Harry Styles would replace him, citing a planning conflict.
Turns out that wasn't the whole story. Variety has learned that LaBeouf has been removed from the film. Although filming hadn't started when LaBeouf left, insiders close to the project said LaBeouf had shown bad behavior and his style clashed with the cast and crew, including Wilde, who ultimately fired him.
Wilde did not respond to requests for comment on this story. The LaBeouf publicist declined to comment. A New Line representative also declined to comment on the matter.
"He's not easy to work with," says a source close to the film, adding that LaBeouf "scares off" those associated with the project, particularly Wilde, who is known for doing collaborative sets with a "zero" to create asshole politics. "
Last week, Wilde was one of many women who supported FKA Twigs, the singer, dancer, and actress who LaBeouf dated for about a year after meeting him on the set of Honey Boy, on social media. Last week, FKA Twigs made headlines after filing a bombing lawsuit alleging a sexual battery against the actor and painting a garish picture of the former Disney child star accused of verbal and physical abuse, from violent assault to strangulation . Worrying allegations in the lawsuit include LaBeouf knowingly infecting FKA Twigs with a sexually transmitted disease and shooting stray dogs with a gun in order to star in his film, The Tax Collector.
The lawsuit has challenged the career prospects for LaBeouf, who became famous in Hollywood for publicly fighting demons. And it poses new challenges for Netflix, which will release its next film, Pieces of a Woman, on January 7th, in which he plays the title character's husband, played by Vanessa Kirby, who loses her baby while giving birth at home.
After the lawsuit, musician Sia backed up FKA Twigs with her own allegations against LaBeouf, tweeting, "I too was emotionally hurt by Shia, a pathological liar who has embroiled me in an adulterous relationship who claims to be single." Songwriter Katy Rose, who says she grew up with LaBeouf when they were both kids in the same entertainment business circles, also made her own claim and posted on Twitter when she was 14, "He pounded me at a party the Hollywood Hills. "
Honey Boy director Alma Har'el, who worked closely with LaBeouf to tell his childhood story, also issued a statement endorsing FKA Twigs: “How many Shia employees and fans on drug abuse fought, suffered childhood trauma and were mentally ill, "Ha'rel said in a statement." I am painfully aware of my previous investment in his recovery. I want to send a clear message today that none of the above practices excuse domestic violence , minimize or rationalize. "
LaBeouf has hired prominent attorney Shawn Holley, who served on OJ Simpson's defense team, to represent him on the case. Prior to hiring Holley, LaBeouf responded to the lawsuit, telling the media that not all of the allegations were true, but that he admitted to abusive behavior.
"I'm in no position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel," he said in an email to the New York Times, adding that he is a sober member of a 12-step program and is in therapy. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, just rationalizations. I have abused myself and everyone around me for years. I have hurt the people closest to me in the past. I am ashamed of this story and I apologize to those I have hurt. I can't really say anything else. "
While FKA Twigs and stylist Karolyn Pho, who made similar sexual assault allegations against LaBeouf in the lawsuit, refused to comment on the story, their attorney, Bryan Freedman, came forward to help other women clear warning signs of one Recognize abuse.
"This is not about Shia's career," Freedman told Variety. "This is about making sure the trauma and pain inflicted on my clients and others doesn't recur. Shia is a licensed abuser and needs meaningful help in addressing his violent behavior."
Freedman said his clients tried to settle the matter privately before going public with the lawsuit, asking LaBeouf to make a donation to a domestic violence organization and "agree to meaningful and consistent psychological treatment." The plaintiff's attorney said his client filed the lawsuit when LaBeouf "was unwilling to consent to appropriate assistance".
In a statement to Variety, LaBeouf's attorney Holley denied Freedman's allegation that LaBeouf was unwilling to resolve the matter. At the time, LaBeouf had a different legal representation. The actor is currently exploring options for long-term inpatient treatment, according to LaBeouf's attorney.
"When these allegations first appeared a year ago, Shia immediately took responsibility for the many things he had done wrong and expressed his willingness to do what Twigs wanted him to do, almost all of which were perfectly reasonable "says Holley. To do this, he paid, planned, postponed (when she changed the date) and traveled from another country to attend the mutual mediation set up by the lawyers. When Twigs' attorney canceled the mediation, Shia's attorney tried to postpone it. Shia's position has never changed and I reached out to Mr. Freedman to see how things could get back on track. "
Today, LaBeouf's attorney says he acknowledges his problems and remains open and ready to get things right.
"Shia needs help and he knows it," LaBeouf's attorney told Variety. "We are actively looking for meaningful, intensive and long-term inpatient treatment that he urgently needs."
FKA Twigs is requesting a trial by a jury on the civil action claiming she never reported anything to law enforcement at the time of the alleged abuse because she mistakenly felt that going to the police would damage LaBeouf's career . Nor did she trust that the police would take her bill seriously - a common fear among victims of sexual abuse.
When asked if FKA Twigs currently has plans to go to the police to bring criminal charges, their attorney declined to provide insight, citing privileged information from the client.
LaBeouf first became famous at the age of 14 on the Disney Channel series "Even Stevens". During his 20s, he continued to have a string of mishaps and struggled with drugs and alcohol, an issue that many child actors struggle with. The industry's backlash on abusers, however, was clear in the #MeToo era.
Last month, Warner Bros. asked Johnny Depp to resign from the Fantastic Beasts franchise after losing his defamation lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun, which printed an article saying he was on "domestic violence allegations" was referred to as a "brawler" by his ex-wife Amber Heard.
FKA Twigs' lawsuit changed LaBeouf's redemption narrative, which this fall included a role in the lively "Pieces of a Woman" awards season that Netflix bought from the Venice Film Festival. The streaming Goliath has already removed LaBeouf's best supporting actor name from its online "For Your Consideration" ads and instead focused on stars Kirby and Ellen Burstyn.
A Netflix rep says LaBeouf was never a major focus or part of the pricing campaign's strategy before FKA Twigs filed the lawsuit. In the past, LaBeouf - who had never followed a Hollywood routine like press tours and even showed up on a red carpet with a bag over his head at the premiere of "Nymphomaniac" - has shied away from promoting his advertising Projects. Another source says the actor never planned to advertise "Pieces of a Woman" because he believed the film always focused on Kirby's leading lady.
Five days after filing the lawsuit, Netflix removed LaBeouf's name from its website. A bit awkward though, his name has already been printed on FYC materials sent out to members and critics of the Academy.
Directed by Kornél Mundruczó (“White God”), the actors in the film have yet to fulfill their press obligations and will likely be inundated with questions about LaBeouf on the award trail in the coming weeks.
Speaking for the first time about the lawsuit against LaBeouf, Mundruczó told Variety: “These are grave allegations that were difficult to read. My heart was filled with grief and sorrow as I read the reports. I believe all people should feel like they can come forward and tell their truth. I stand by you "
The director adds, “We pride ourselves on the film's focus on the complexity and beauty of a female journey. Our focus remains on shedding light on our deeply personal history. "
Though he'd be considered a Longshot for a nomination, the chances of LaBeouf's Oscars seem completely gone.
Prior to the lawsuit, Hollywood seemed ready to put LaBeouf's past behavior in the rearview mirror. After the success of "Honey Boy," Marvel was even looking for a superhero role for LaBeouf, according to reports that surfaced that summer, although insiders at the time told Variety that there was initial interest but a meeting never took place and discussions never followed.
After starring in "Transformers" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," LaBeouf had a number of public breakdowns that played out on the tabloids. Following a drunken arrest in 2014 for interfering with watching a Broadway performance of Cabaret, and another arrest in 2017 for public poisoning when LaBeouf made racist statements to a police officer asking him to seek therapy for anger and substance abuse , Hollywood seemed to be distancing itself from LaBeouf.
David Ayer reached out to him about a role on "Suicide Squad," but LaBeouf says Warner Bros. is not interested. "I went in to meet and they said," No, you're crazy. You're a good actor, but not this one. "It was a big investment for them," LaBeouf Variety said in a 2016 interview.
He burned bridges and torpedoed important relationships, feuds with Steven Spielberg, who was responsible for the cast of "Indiana Jones", "Disturbia" and "Transformers". ("He's less of a director than a company," LaBeouf said in 2016.)
Even after an argument with his then-girlfriend, actress Mia Goth, in 2015 who was caught on camera, LaBeouf continued to receive professional praise. In the footage, LaBeouf became almost violent, hearing strangers on the street in Germany say, "If I had stayed there, I would have killed them." The leaked video had a brief media flash, but the couple stayed in their relationship, and a year later, LaBeouf received the best reviews of his career for "American Honey," which won the 2016 Cannes Film Festival Jury Award.
And yet, unlike Lindsay Lohan, LaBeouf was still getting a pass who worked all the time, even though he wasn't working on multi-million dollar tent poles but in independent films like Andrea Arnold's "American Honey" and mid-budget films like Ayer's "The Tax Collector," released earlier this year. His erratic behavior almost seemed to steer his career in a new artistic direction as his brand became synonymous with unpredictability. And in a city where recovery is rightly being de-stigmatized, his struggle against addiction has generated sympathy, as has his restless upbringing and his formative years as a child star.
But sexual battery allegations are a different matter. Claims of such a grave nature are distinguished from other types of showbiz scandals, which are largely forgotten or even celebrated.
"Sometimes, when you're a loose cannon, you can turn that into some of your best roles, and some of this controversy can frankly have pros and cons," says Ryan Baker, founding partner in Los Angeles of the Baker Marquart law firm, the high profile talent has represented, always opposes the studios in legal disputes.
"But when you talk about sexual harassment or abuse, especially in the world today," adds Baker, "it's a different issue than someone who is drunk and yelling things or being arrested by a DUI."
LaBeouf has no upcoming projects on his radar, and it can be difficult for him to get cast himself in India as financiers want to know the outcome of a possible process before choosing LaBeouf as part of an upcoming movie. He is still represented by CAA, but the agency declined to comment on this story. Before the lawsuit was filed, LaBeouf was selected to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2021, although his ceremony date has not yet been set.
Should he get the help he needs - and his lawyer says he is currently looking for it - LaBeouf has the ability not only to correct his self-confessed abusive behavior, but also to help those struggling with substance abuse, says Jennifer Musselman. A former Nickelodeon executive who made a career shift to clinical psychotherapist specializing in addiction. (Musselman, who has extensive experience working with child stars on set, never covered LaBeouf.)
“Drug addiction is not linked to sexual abuse or physical abuse. There are many people in recovery who don't do these things. These are often anger and trauma problems, ”says Musselman. "If someone has frequent drug and alcohol problems, it is a coping mechanism. In this case, I would suspect that those problems are related to their traumatic childhood, including the way he, if you will, of the Hollywood industry was supported to get fired from these bad behaviors. "
The therapist, licensed by the California State Board of Behavioral Science, believes that LaBeouf's response shows some level of awareness, but says accountability is key to full recovery.
"It's the behavior we need to move forward consistently that should allow people - producers, agents, managers, networks - to decide whether or not to show up and work openly," she says. “You see celebrities go out and go into rehab for six months, but often for the wrong reasons. To really heal and develop the kind of character for someone who is supposedly this violent, they have to actually want to do the work, not just want to work again. "
If you or someone you know experiences abuse or domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Line at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
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