Last week, we observed the mess of Olivia Wilde and Shia LaBeouf and his, er, departure from Don’t Worry Darling in which released texts and email transcripts, and video to show he was not fired, as Wilde was heavily implying in the press. Since then, Shia has been busy. He went on Jon Bernthal’s “Real Ones” podcast and started his apology tour ahead of his sexual assault and battery trial with his ex, FKA Twigs. (Sidebar: if you need your Jon Bernthal crush killed, giving an accused batterer TWO HOURS to set up his defense is a big help. Celebs, podcast less.) In that same podcast episode, LaBeouf admitted to making up the abuse parts of his semi-autobiographical film, Honey Boy, which he wrote and depicted his father, whom he played in the film, hitting him. He called the depiction of physical abuse “f-cking nonsense”. He went on to say, “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 f-cked he was as a man.”
He further admitted he lied to his father, misrepresenting Honey Boy in order to secure his blessing for the film. Quick question: was appearing on Bernthal’s podcast meant to HELP Shia LaBeouf? Oh wait, never mind, he already has a shiny new role to complete his redemption arc! LaBeouf is the latest person to join Francis Ford Coppola’s film Megalopolis, the passion project Coppola is funding himself. This after LaBeouf stars in Padre Pio, Abel Ferrara’s film about an Italian saint which is premiering during the Venice Film Festival.
You could say there has been very little redemption in this “redemption arc”, and, of course, LaBeouf still has to weather whatever details come out during his trial. But despite his messy podcast appearance with Bernthal, the last week has been good for Shia LaBeouf’s public rehabilitation. He garnered sympathy through the Don’t Worry Darling fiasco, and now he’s landed a part in a major filmmaker’s high-profile new film. It looks like, at least for now, LaBeouf’s image rehabilitation is complete.
As for the timing of it all, movie deals don’t get made overnight, or even in a week. It is extremely probable that LaBeouf was already knee-deep in this deal, if not already closed, when the Don’t Worry Darling story blew up last week, and the casting confirmation was held until that blew over. For LaBeouf, that’s a bit of luck, because it gives him two positive stories in two weeks, and it seems his Honey Boy confession isn’t catching on beyond film Twitter. And he has between now and April 2023 to cement the idea that he is no longer the man who (allegedly) abused FKA Twigs, which is when they go to trial. Of course, being sober and a “changed man” is not, in itself, atonement for past actions, but sadly, a lot of people will probably see it that way. “Himpathy” knows no bounds.