One of the most anticipated titles at Sundance this year is “Honey Boy,” a movie about Shia LaBeouf, written by LaBeouf and starring LaBeouf — but not as himself. Rather, the oft-provocative actor plays his own father, with Lucas Hedges playing LaBeouf in his younger years, though in the film this version of Shia is called “Otis.” Director Alma Har’el, previously best known for the documentary “Bombay Beach,” stopped by the IndieWire Sundance Studio, presented by Dropbox, to discuss the film in general and its casting in particular.
“I think I’ve been blessed all around to be working with all of these people, who I think are some of the best actors in the world, and definitely Lucas falls under that,” Har’el said to IndieWire managing editor Christian Blauvelt of the decision to have Hedges play LaBeouf.
“But other than just being great and one of my favorite actors, I think Lucas — and Noah [Jupe], for that matter — it occurred to me that there needs to be something here that comes to life. We have to bring Otis to life, and we can’t just find somebody who’s just an impression or just feels like Shia or does an impression of Shia, because it would be pretty narcissistic to have Shia play against somebody who mirrors him and has no tension. That’s what Lucas and Noah brought to this, you know? They never tried to be Shia — they brought themselves into it. They really tapped into what made Otis Otis.”
FKA Twigs, Maika Monroe, Natasha Lyonne, Martin Starr, Byron Bowers, Laura San Giacomo, and Clifton Collins Jr. co-star in “Honey Boy,” which has its world premiere in the U.S. Drama section today. Watch an excerpt of IndieWire’s conversation with Har’el below.