Shia LaBeouf has never been better — and he means it when he says that.
The Transformers and Indiana Jones star has a résumé full of big-budget commercial popcorn hits and also independent critical successes. But intermixed with all that has been a slew of legal troubles and a number of bizarre public art instillations, which left fans scratching their heads.
However, in a recent interview with MTV News, the 33-year-old star made it clear he has never been more self-aware and grateful for his career and well-being.
“I’ve never had my feet as firmly planted in the floor as I do now,” LaBeouf told MTV’s Josh Horowitz. “I’ve never felt more human. I am very aware of how lucky I am. I am on my ninth life.”
LaBeouf granted the in-depth interview to discuss his upcoming film, The Peanut Butter Falcon (which premiered at SXSW), and also his nearly year-old, free performing arts program, the Slauson Rec Theater Company, which the actor says is located in the “heart of the most marginalized area of Los Angeles.”
“I have goals for this: to change theater,” he said. “We built a theater for people who don’t fuck with theater. I want people to line up for theater like they line up for cellphones.”
On Saturday, a fundraising concert will be held at the James E Slauson Recreation Center to benefit the theater company, featuring YG, Jade Smith, Vic Mensa, Kamaiyah, David Blaine, How to Dress Well, Baby Keem, baths, Ka5ch, Slayyyter, Elijah Daniel, Nao Bustamente, Human Fountains and Daisy. Shlomo is the night’s official deejay. There will also be a five-minute preview of the Slauson Rec Theater Company’s new play, LaBeouf said.
In rehab and therapy while writing Honey Boy (which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival) LaBeouf said the movie saved his life and career.
“They were throwing dirt on my back,” he said. “I was totally lost. And quite apathetic to my whole craft and my life. Really like bottom barrel for me, which is what I needed. I wasn’t going to stop doing what I was doing until that happened to me.”
He added, “Some people are just really stubborn. I am one of those.”
It has been five years since he last appeared in a studio film, but LaBeouf said it may be happening again in the near future.
“I am not against any of it,” he said. “I am probably headed toward it, but I don’t pick roles based on who’s producing the movie. I was doing studio films for a while and lost my sensibilities and my connection to the material. Even though I have been walking through mud, I do get to be picky about my stuff. And I have a place to go (Slauson) when I am not working. I am not broke. I am not strapped for cash. I am not strapped for creativity. I have my little domain.”
He added, “I found my way to survive and be able to flourish. I feel like my best stuff has come in the last five years and none of that was studio work. I have a good group around me now. I am closer to my family than I ever have been before.”
As for reflection, LaBeouf noted he has had plenty. And it made him realize his successes were just as vital as his failures.
“Fuck-ups have a way of introducing yourself to yourself,” he said. “You hit the wall enough, you start reflecting. My well is full and that comes from living a certain kind of life.”
The Peanut Butter Falcon opens Aug. 9.
Honey Boy is scheduled to be released Nov. 8 by Amazon Studios.
Watch the entire interview, below.