When news broke out of Sundance that Shia LaBeouf had written an autobiographical story in therapy that he’d optioned into a feature length film, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Actors making their life story, usually through their eyes, is 99 times out of 100 an insufferably pedantic jerk off. Look no further than Jonah Hill’s “autobiographical” (by which I mean none of it’s true) directorial debut Mid90s. The last thing I wanted to see was the story of LaBeouf, who is 10x the pedant Hill is, where he plays his own father. And then I saw the trailer for Honey Boy.
Otis Lort (Lucas Hedges) is a former child star turned mildly successful action movie lead. However, he struggles to control his anger issues, his substance abuse, and his self-destructive behavior. As he reaches a breaking point, he looks back on his life and the events that led him here, including his days as a child sitcom star (played by Noah Jupe) and the tumultuous relationship he shared with his father/manager, James Lort (LaBeouf).
This…this is an excellent trailer. I mean, I did not expect to be moved this much watching it. I’m not sure if it’s the direction by longtime LaBeouf friend Alma Har’el, the performances by Hedges, Jupe, and LaBeouf himself, or the writing, but this teaser elevated this film in my eyes from a complete write-off to a major contender. From the opening Transformers parody to the clear Even Stevens homage to the ballsiness of LaBeouf’s anger and Hedges’ emotional outpours, this is a film I want in my life immediately. I’m moving LaBeouf up on my list of potential Best Supporting Actor contenders, and there’s even a chance that, should the film meet the trailer’s high bar, this could be an end-of-the-year Top Ten contender. I will have more news on Honey Boy as it comes out. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer below – and while you’re at it, why not the famous Rob Cantor song “Shia LaBeouf?” Honey Boy also stars Maika Monroe, Natasha Lyonne, Martin Starr, Clifton Collins Jr., and Laura San Giacomo, and will be released November 8th.