In the new trailer for Honey Boy, an almost unrecognisable Shia LaBeouf puts on one of his most chilling, intense performances yet – as a character based on his own father.
With his dadcore getup and receding hairline, the actor bullies and prods his onscreen son, played by both Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges, a child star whose struggles echo that of LaBeouf’s own as a former Disney kid. FKA twigs makes a brief cameo in the trailer, too, portraying a kindly neighbour to the dysfunctional pair. Watch it below.
Written by LaBeouf and directed by Israeli-American Alma Har’el, Honey Boy is a semi-autobiographical film inspired by LaBeouf’s life. It follows the actor Otis Lort from his childhood (Jupe) through to his days as a young adult (Hedges), when the pressures of fame start taking their toll. The title of the flick itself comes from the former Even Stevens star’s nickname as a kid.
LaBeouf had penned the script as part of a rehabilitation programme, taking on “the therapeutic challenge of playing a version of his own father, an ex-rodeo clown and a felon”, he said in a statement. His fractious relationship with his father – they have since reconciled – and his mental health issues are also themes touched upon in Honey Boy.
“It is strange to fetishise your pain and make a product out of it and feel guilty about that,” LaBeouf was quoted as saying when the film made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
“It felt very selfish. This whole thing felt very selfish. I never went into this thinking, ‘Oh, I am going to fucking help people.’ That wasn’t my goal. I was falling apart.”
Honey Boy hits cinemas on November 8.