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The Shia LaBeouf Comeback Continues: Francis Ford Coppola Casts Him in ‘Megalopolis’

LaBeouf joins Adam Driver and Aubrey Plaza in the Coppola epic, adding to the beleaguered actor's mounting list of comeback projects.

TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 10: Shia LaBeouf attends the "Honey Boy" premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TIFF)

Shia LaBeouf

Getty Images for TIFF

Shia LaBeouf isn’t worried about his comeback.

After parting ways with Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling,” backtracking on the autobiographical status of his “Honey Boy” father-son drama, and speaking out on the abuse allegations and lawsuit filed by ex-partner FKA Twigs, the “Padre Pio” actor has joined Francis Ford Coppola’s massive “Megalopolis” cast.

LaBeouf’s casting announcement also included that director Coppola’s sister Talia Shire (“Rocky”) will reunite with the auteur after starring in “The Godfather,” along with nephew Jason Schwartzman. Grace Vanderwaal, Kathryn Hunter, and James Remar also join the ensemble cast.

Previously announced “Megalopolis” mega-stars include Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, and Aubrey Plaza. The official “Megalopolis” synopsis mysteriously reads: “The fate of Rome haunts a modern world unable to solve its own social problems in this epic story of political ambition, genius and conflicted love.”

Writer/director Coppola is said to be spending hundreds of millions of his own dollars to fund the epic futuristic feature, over 20 years in the making. The film will be shot in Georgia starting in November 2022 and will continue through March 2023.

LaBeouf is also leading Abel Ferrara’s “Padre Pio” biopic on controversial priest Francesco Forgione. The “Holes” alum was cast in the feature after Willem Dafoe suggested he was a perfect fit to portray the Italian monk who rose to fame in Catholicism during the two world wars. The film premieres at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, which LaBeouf will be attending. However, the actor will not be doing press for the film.

“He’s an iconic figure,” director Ferrara previously told Variety of Padre Pio’s legacy. “He’s on the back of every truck. He’s the saint of every drug dealer in Naples. Pio is like the alternative Jesus, in a way.”

After connecting with LaBeouf about the role, Ferrara said the “Transformers” alum was “driving to a monastery in California” soon after to fully immerse himself in the experience. LaBeouf donned monk-like robes and slept in Padre Pio’s former bed at a southern Italian monastery during production. Ferrara noted the film is supported by the Padre Pio brotherhood, with LaBeouf acting opposite real monks.

“He’s bringing his own life to it,” Ferrara said of LaBeouf’s performance. “You are seeing a person going through a very similar experience. It’s not just about wearing robes and performing actions. He connected very deeply with Pio’s journey in the film. When the actor is living a parallel-type journey, that’s when you get such a powerful performance.”

LaBeouf took a two-year break from acting following assault claims from ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs. LaBeouf is additionally slated to star in “After Exile,” opposite Robert De Niro, about a former convict who seeks redemption.

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