In the film, Shia LaBeouf plays a fictionalized version of his own father

By Helen Murphy
September 10, 2019 11:46 AM

Shia LaBeouf‘s new film hits close to home for the actor.

Honey Boy stars LaBeouf as the father of a young actor, played by 12-year-old Noah Jupe and 22-year-old Lucas Hedges at different ages. Though the movie doesn’t exactly mirror his life — and all the characters have different names — the movie loosely follows LaBeouf’s trajectory into stardom. The actor wrote the screenplay during a stint in rehab and plays a fictionalized version of his own father.

While speaking to the Hollywood Reporter at the Toronto Film Festival, LaBeouf, 33, admitted that the film was a “tough” watch for his parents.

“Yeah, my mother, my dad, they’ve seen it,” he said. “It was tough for them to watch it. But I think also, they can have distance with it as well. I mean they really, more than they care about this movie s—, they care about their kid, you know?

RELATED: Shia LaBeouf Plays His Own Father in Emotionally Raw Trailer for Autobiographical Honey Boy

“They’re happy with my reaction to it, and they know that I wouldn’t have shared it with them unless I was proud of it,” he continued. “So I think just the act of sharing it with them sort of contextualizes the whole viewing experience as something that’s quite safe for them to enjoy. So they were going to enjoy it regardless if I played it for them.”

In a recent interview with MTV News, LaBeouf said that writing Honey Boy saved his life and career.

“I was totally lost. And quite apathetic to my whole craft and my life. Really like bottom barrel for me, which is what I needed. I wasn’t going to stop doing what I was doing until that happened to me,” LaBeouf admitted.

“I found my way to survive and be able to flourish,” he continued. “I feel like my best stuff has come in the last five years and none of that was studio work. I have a good group around me now. I am closer to my family than I ever have been before.”

RELATED: Shia LaBeouf Says He’s on His ‘Ninth Life’ After ‘F— Ups’: ‘I’ve Never Felt More Human’

Director Alma Har’el previously talked to The Wrap about the sensitivities of filming a movie with LaBeouf stepping in as his own father, and how they overcame any uncomfortable moments.

“I think he’s done the bravest thing anyone could do… he played his own father with whom he has the most complicated relationship with,” Har’el said. “Obviously, we all went through a lot of deep feelings while making the film, but nothing was too much. Everything was accepted. Whenever the demons came, we danced with them.”

Honey Boy opens in theaters Nov. 8.

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