There's a new set photo from Honey Boy, and it reveals a barely recognizable Shia LaBeouf in one of the lead roles. Almost ironically, LaBeouf is supposed to resemble a figure based on his real-life father, James LaBeouf.
Honey Boy tells the story of a grown-up child actor who attempts to mend his relationship with his "hard-drinking, law-breaking" father, and it's meant to be a semi-autobiographical tale about Shia's own relationship with his dad. LaBeouf has changed his appearance for movie roles before, but rarely to this same level. The talented but famously mercurial actor appears to be going the proverbial extra mile for the role based on his father, which is evident by what he will look like in his performance.
EW reveals a semi-balding, bespectacled Shia LaBeouf on the Honey Boy set. He's sitting on a beach wearing overalls, a brown vest, and work boots with a bit of a scowl on his face. It's unclear what kind of scene is being shot here, but it doesn't look like LaBeouf's character is happy with what he's seeing. Although Honey Boy is largely based on the real-life LaBeoufs, his character is named James Lort. Lucas Hedges, who plays the fictional version of Shia himself, plays Otis Lort.
This isn't the first time LaBeouf has transformed himself or, otherwise, went above and beyond to dedicate himself to a role. He needed to have a scar on his face for Fury, so he sliced his own face for real. He also looked spot-on as tennis legend John McEnroe in Borg vs. McEnroe, not to mention he loaded up on piercings and donned a long rat-tail hairdo for American Honey. Then, in order to accurately portray a drunk person in John Hillcoat's Lawless, he actually got drunk on moonshine before and during filming.
So, for LaBeouf to go all out to resemble a semi-fictionalized version of his own father should come as no surprise. He's long been one of Hollywood's most polarizing actors, as much for his on-set antics as his eccentric public behavior. But there's no denying that he's not afraid to take extra measures in order to immerse himself in a role. And since Honey Boy is based on his own life, this could potentially be his most committed performance of his career.
Of course, appearance is only part of the battle with LaBeouf's portrayal of James Lort. The success of Honey Boy will hinge on how he acts, rather than how he looks. But, considering all the negative press that has been lobbied his way over the past year, perhaps Honey Boy is his opportunity to deliver the ultimate redemption tale.