Following the disturbing physical and sexual abuse claims made against Shia LaBoeuf by former girlfriends, the actor is making a comeback. LaBoeuf, who last appeared in Netflix’s Oscar-contender Pieces Of A Woman, has been in talks to star in director Abel Ferrara’s next movie.
In an interview with Variety, Ferrara revealed that Shia LaBeouf has officially signed on for the project and will be playing Italian saint Padre Pio. “We’re doing a film about Padre Pio, he’s a monk from Puglia. It’s set in Italy right after World War I. He’s now a saint, he had stigmata. He was also in the middle of a very heavy political period in world history,” Ferrara told the publication.
He then went on to confirm the Transformers star’s involvement in the film. “He was very young before he became a saint, so Shia LaBeouf is going to play the monk.” Ferrara plans to shoot the film this October on location in Puglia, located in Italy’s famous heel. He describes the untitled film as being “bigger” than many of his recent works.
Ferrara said that he’s been working on this story for quite some time. He also added that having Shia LaBeouf in the lead role meant the project is “all set” to begin production very soon. Hollywood veteran, Willem Dafoe who has collaborated with the Ferrara on various films, is also eyeing a role in the movie.
The new film would be the first Shia LaBeouf offering since his ex-girlfriend and Honey Boy co-star FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against him for alleged physical, mental and emotional abuse throughout their relationship. The musician claims that the actor choked her in the middle of the night, threw her up against a car, and threatened to crash a vehicle they were in unless she expressed her love for him.
These allegations opened the flood gates, with various other women coming forward with their own accounts of abuse at the hands of Shia LaBeouf. The list includes stylist Karolyn Pho, recording artist Sia and others. Amid the fallout from the lawsuit Creative Artists Agency (CAA) dropped him from its roster.
After being canceled Shia LaBeouf’s attorney announced that the actor was seeking the “meaningful, intensive, long-term inpatient treatment that he desperately needs.” In February, LaBeouf was reportedly living at an inpatient facility, with an unnamed source telling Variety that the actor’s “release will be dependent on his recovery.”
Shia LaBeouf, who is best known for his roles in the Transformers and Indiana Jones franchises, seemed to take responsibility for his actions by acknowledging that he had no excuse for what he described as his “alcoholism or aggression.” But in response to FKA Twigs’ lawsuit, his lawyers said the actor “denies, generally and specifically, each and every allegation” made against him.
It will be interesting to see the response to Shia LaBeouf taking on the role of a saint. Born Francesco Forgione in southern Italy in the late 19th century, Padre Pio generated both devotion and controversy throughout his life. He rose to fame in the Catholic world for exhibiting crucifixion wounds similar to those on the body of Jesus Christ, before becoming a symbol of hope for the Italian people during the country’s war period. He died at the age of 81, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999, and then canonized and 2002.