- By Michael Jacobo
- Photo Courtesy of Amazon
We’ve all heard of writers recounting their lives (often tragic, dramatic, transformative moments) in books. Memoirs are a common genre of literature, but why can’t the same be said for the same concept in film. There are biopics (the film equivalent of a literary biography), but rarely are there writers, directors, or even actors whose own lives they repurpose for a dramatic narrative.
Shia LaBeouf, not your average actor, surprised audiences when he announced he had written a screenplay based on his life, more specifically his upbringing as a child actor in the Disney series Even Stevens. Young child star himself, Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place, Wonder), stars as young Otis Lort, while Academy Award nominee Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea, Ben is Back) stars as Otis in his adult years, as he reels from mental health and substance abuse. LaBeouf stars as James, Otis’s father, himself based on LaBeouf’s own father. Also starring in the film are Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll, Orange is the New Black), Maika Monroe (It Follows), and singer/songwriter FKA Twigs.
LaBeouf wrote the screenplay as part of his treatment while he was in rehab, and his performance as his own father is demonstrative of his coping with the often volatile father-son dynamic he endured. The film is the debut narrative feature for Alma Ha’rel (Bombay Beach). The film had its premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
“Honey Boy” is now playing.