Honey Boy opens in theaters on Friday, Nov. 8.

By Claudia Harmata
November 05, 2019 09:35 AM

Shia LaBeouf‘s father had just one note for his son’s emotionally raw new movie that loosely follows their complicated relationship — and it wasn’t about any of the “heavy stuff.”

On Tuesday, the actor — who plays his father rather than himself in the semi-autobiographical film — opened up about the making of the movie while appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, revealing the piece of directorial advice his father gave him.

“Yeah, not about any of the heavy stuff,” LaBeouf told host Ellen DeGeneres of the pointers his dad shared with him. “My dad was very particular about this relationship that he had with a chicken named Henrietta LaFowl, who was the world’s first daredevil chicken.”

RELATED: Shia LaBeouf Says His Parents Had a ‘Tough’ Time Watching Autobiographical Film Honey Boy

“This was my dad’s act it was like his opus,” the actor said, sharing that his father worked as a clown when LaBeouf was a child. “And my dad used to put this chicken on his head and do cartwheels, and the chicken would run from his head to his butt from his head to his butt.”

Shia LaBeouf and Ellen DeGeneres
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Honey Boy stars LaBeouf as the father of a young actor, played by both 12-year-old Noah Jupe and 22-year-old Lucas Hedges, and follows their complex relationship throughout the years. Though the movie doesn’t directly mirror his life — all the characters having different names — the movie loosely follows LaBeouf’s journey to stardom.

RELATED: Shia LaBeouf Thanks Officer Who Arrested Him in 2017 for ‘Changing My Life’ in Emotional Speech

“It’s a chunk of my life when I was doing a show called Even Stevens, and my dad was coming to the set with me,” LaBeouf told DeGeneres. “And it’s based around this chunk of time when we were living in a motel by the Fox Hills mall and going to work and that’s what the movies about.”

The film marks LaBeouf’s screenwriting debut, which the 33-year-old said he started writing while in a court-ordered rehab facility he called “head camp” after his 2017 arrest. Prior to the making of Honey Boy, the actor said he hadn’t seen his father in seven years and that the movie was in some ways a “love letter” to him.

RELATED VIDEO: Shia LaBeouf Talks How ‘Honey Boy’ Was Created and How He Transformed in to the Role of His Dad for the Film

“I basically had him set up a web camera and then watched him watch the whole movie,” LaBeouf said. “And he didn’t say much, but I know he felt like I saw him. Like, I really saw him and got him. And [he] was very teary eye-ed and it’s a love letter, so it felt that way.”

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

On Sunday night, LaBeouf was honored with an award for the film’s script at the Hollywood Film Awards in Los Angeles, where he thanked the police officer who arrested him for public drunkenness, crediting the arrest for “changing [his] life.”

Honey Boy opens in theaters on Friday, Nov. 8.

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