LaBeouf was in rehab while he wrote the script for the movie, in which he plays a fictionalized version of his own father
The complicated relationship between Shia LaBeouf and his dad takes center stage in the actor’s loosely auto-biographical new movie.
The first trailer for Honey Boy dropped on Thursday, offering a look at just how raw LaBeouf went when writing the story about a young child actor and his father. LaBeouf plays his own dad in the drama, with A Quiet Place breakout Noah Jupe portraying a young version of the actor. Oscar-nominee Lucas Hedges also steps in to play LaBeouf in his early twenties.
“Think it through. What’s your mother got a job for? In case what? In case you fail. In case it don’t work out,” LaBeouf, transformed into his own father, says to a young version of himself. “She’s fulling your head full of fear, I pump you full of strength. We’re a team and I know you got what it takes. You’re a star and I know it, that’s why I’m here. I’m your cheerleader, honey boy.”
Though the movie doesn’t exactly mirror his life — and all the characters have different names — it’s clear the movie loosely follows LaBeouf’s trajectory. The actor wrote the screenplay during a stint in rehab.
“I don’t want to talk about my dad,” Hedges says later in the trailer. “My dad’s not the reason I drink, he’s the reason I work.”
In the end, an emotional scene between father and son shows how complicated their bond really is.
“How do you think it feels to have my son paying me. How do you think that feels?” LaBeouf says in the final moments of the trailer.
“You wouldn’t be here if I didn’t pay you,” the young actor replies.
Director Alma Har’el 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.