Shia LeBeouf has no shortage of weird, controversial, or downright gross things in his past. In 2016, LaBeouf married his girlfriend Mia Goth in an Elvis-driven Las Vegas ceremony, and the two lasted until 2018 when they filed for divorce.
During their relationship, LaBeouf was arrested in Savannah, Georgia for public intoxication and disorderly conduct, which included screaming profanities at police officers.
It seemed like LaBeouf was finally getting his life together and coming back to Hollywood after a few questionable years. But with a lawsuit pending and accusations flying, Netflix is officially canceling LaBeouf.
Is this the end for this Even Stevens child star?
Disney via GIPHY
What we know about this seriously messy drama
A post-rehab, reportedly sober LaBeouf had his redemption tour with the 2019 hit Honey Boy, in which he talks about his childhood, pressure from his father to succeed, and how being a child star took a toll on his mental health. He played James Lort, a character closely based on LaBeouf’s own father.
Amazon Studios via GIPHY
None of this is new. LaBeouf has been acting in some capacity since 1984 when he was just two years old. He had his breakout role in the Disney series Even Stevens in 2000, and his movie career really began in 2003 with his role as Stanley in Holes (the book was better).
Since then, LaBeouf has some real highs – and lows – with his career. His personal life, on the other hand, has been a mess.
He’s been publicly arrested at least twice for alcoholic-related issues. He’s previously opened admitted to struggling with addiction and has gone through various programs to help get himself together. He also has said in the past he suffered from PTSD, all serious issues that aren’t talked about enough in Hollywood.
However, with that comes a serious lack of personal responsibility for his actions. In 2015, before he and Goth went to Elvis to tie the knot, LaBeouf was reportedly involved in what media outlets called at the time ‘an altercation’ with his then-girlfriend. It was public, and messy, and ended with him dramatically driving away.
Friends said that LaBeouf told them later, “I don’t want to touch a woman, I don’t want to hit a woman, but I’m getting pushed,” blaming Goth for his anger and outrageous behavior. “If I’d have stayed there, I would have killed her.” Yikes. He later apologized, and Goth went on to marry him, but this is just one example of his actions.
LaBeouf was arrested as recently as September of this year when he was charged with misdemeanor battery and petty theft from June of that same year. Allegedly, the Transformer star tried to steal someone’s hat?!
What about Twigs?
Between 2018 and 2019, after his split with Goth, Shia dated FKA Twigs, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett. FKA Twigs is a British born (Shia has as type – Goth was also British) songwriter, singer, and actress.
At the time of their dating, Twigs had just split with Robert Pattinson, whom she had been with since 2014 and was engaged.
Last week, Twigs shared that she will be suing LaBeouf for his abusive and dangerous behavior during their relationship. According to the lawsuit, filed on Friday, LaBeouf was… not in a good place, during their time together.
The centerpiece of the lawsuit revolves around a trip the two took to a desert just after Valentine’s day in 2019. He had been angry and abusive during the whole trip, including waking up in the middle of the night to strangle her, and on the way back he was apparently driving recklessly, speeding aggressively, repeatedly taking his seatbelt off, and begging her to profess her love to him.
She begged to be let out of the car, and finally, he stopped at a gas station, where she collected her things from the trunk. But according to the suit, LeBeouf followed her, screaming and throwing her against the car, before forcing her in again.
Twigs says this wasn’t the first time, or the last time, that he treated her this way.
LeBeouf – or his publicist – sent an email in response to an inquiry by the New York Times, in which he said that he was not “in any position to tell anyone how” his allegedly abusive behavior “made them feel”. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression,” he continues. “I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years … I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt.”
So wait, how does Netflix factor in?
As I said earlier, LeBeouf was just starting to bounce back from his arrests and reported abusive behavior with his ex-wife. Hollywood loves a comeback story, and viewers have a short attention span – look at how Robert Downey Jr. and Tim Allen bounced back.
An Amazon exclusive (presumably because no ‘real’ Hollywood studio would touch him), Honey Boy was written by LaBeouf while he was undergoing rehab as part of his therapy.
The movie released in January of 2019 at Sundance to a really positive reception. Director Alma Har’el (in her debut!) was praised for her vision, and some said it was LaBeouf’s best work, raw and intentional and emotional. Honey Boy was a nickname LaBeouf had as a child.
Honey Boy had a limited run in theaters so it’s hard to say if it was a financial success for Amazon Studios, but it seems that way – the movie at least made back what the budget reportedly was (just $3.5 million), not to mention the streaming revenue generated by Amazon, which is really what they’re looking for.
The success seemed to harm LaBeouf personally, though it made people look at him in a new and sympathetic life. “It is strange to fetishize your pain and make a product out of it and feel guilty about that,” He said in an interview. “It felt very selfish. This whole thing felt very selfish. I never went into this thinking, ‘Oh, I am going to f***ing help people’. That wasn’t my goal. I was falling apart.”
Despite his obvious cries for help, Netflix picked him up for their 2020 release of Pieces of a Woman. Starring Vanessa Kirby and Ellen Burstyn alongside LaBeouf, he was marked as a contender for Best Supporting Actor.
In the movie, which is available to stream now, LaBeouf plays Kirby’s emotionally unstable husband. The two are navigating the world after an emotionally and physically draining home birth experience tainted by loss and heartbreak.
However, nearly as soon as Twig’s lawsuit went public, LaBeouf’s name was pulled without a trace from the For Your Consideration page. He might have been a longshot, but now he has no chance.
We should not be surprised. Times are different, and fans with long memories were already side-eyeing his Honey Boy apology tour and addition to Netflix’s cast.
Hollywood wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole, and now, it seems streaming services are taking a big step back.
So is this the end of Shia’s time?
It’s almost sad because LaBeouf isn’t a bad actor. He could have done so much with his career, but instead, he allowed himself – despite all of the help and resources in the world at his disposal – to be pulled down into his demons and hurt others.
He continues to push his sober now, so sorry narrative as he’s seen publicly with his current girlfriend, One Upon a Time… in Hollywood actress Margaret Qualley.
I don’t know that we’ll see LaBeouf in any major production ever again. The lawsuit is new, and there is a lot unsaid in it, but I think LaBeouf’s track record – and arrest record – speaks volumes at this moment. I, for one, won’t be supporting any project he is a part of for a long time.
I’m going to leave you this with, a song titled Shia LaBeouf by Rob Cantor, a songwriter-comedian who shares a ‘story’ of Shia and his cabin in the woods.
The lyrics include,
Running for your life (from Shia LaBeouf)
He’s brandishing a knife (it’s Shia LaBeouf)
Lurking in the shadows
Hollywood superstar Shia LaBeouf
and such gems as,
Body slam superstar Shia LaBeouf
Legendary fight with Shia LaBeouf
Normal Tuesday night for Shia LaBeouf
These, given the context in which we can see LaBeouf and his personal life, feel awfully… dark, and serious.