Shia LaBeouf was in a reverential frame of mind at the first public screening of Abel Ferrara’s “Padre Pio” at the Venice Film Festival, as befits a film about a monk in a Capuchin monastery in post-WWI Italy.
LaBeouf, who is embroiled in controversy after being accused of abuse and sexual battery in a bombshell lawsuit filed by his former partner FKA Twigs, made a rare public appearance at Venice. He isn’t doing any press at the festival, but the actor was present in the cinema before the screening where he obliged fans with selfies and participated in a Q&A after.
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“I feel super blessed to have worked on this movie — this movie kind of saved my life,” LaBeouf said during the Q&A. “But I didn’t enter the process as a God guy — definitely not a Catholic. And this movie just found me at a time when I was very willing and open to the process.”
The actor said that he studied mass for the film and the more he sat in mass the less it felt like an actor job and more like a gift. He also gave a shoutout to the robed members of the clergy who attended the premiere.
“They’re in the room now and they’re in my pocket always and they carried me all the time,” LaBeouf said, referring to the clergymen. “We had an incredible cast that did most of the heavy lifting — they cleared space for me to pray and feel whatever God was gonna give me.”
“This is the least work I ever did. I just showed up and, I mean it sounds cheesy, but it’s really like I opened myself up and allowed myself to fail in front of Him all the time,” LaBeouf added. “And our crew and everybody held reverence and space for God to show up and there’s there’s moments of him really fully infused in my heart while we were filming.”
When asked by a member of the audience what he was going to do next, LaBeouf interpreted the question literally and said that he was going to go back to his hotel, to his five-month old daughter. “Next is probably go home and try to be a better husband, a better father and focus on my family,” LaBeouf said.
Most of cast and crew were present at the premiere. The flock was largely reverential, with only a few non-believers leaving the cinema. The faithful who stayed gave the film a four-minute ovation, mostly seated.
Earlier this week it was announced that LaBeouf is joining Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis,” which also stars Adam Driver, Forest Whitaker, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jon Voight and Laurence Fishburne. It’s been quite a week for LaBeouf, who also recently denied Olivia Wilde’s claim that she fired him from her film “Don’t Worry Darling” in a string of private text messages and emails shared with Variety. The actor also appeared on Jon Bernthal’s podcast last week and addressed FKA Twigs’ allegations against him, saying: “I hurt that woman. And in the process of doing that, I hurt many other people, and many other people before that woman. I was a pleasure-seeking, selfish, self-centered, dishonest, inconsiderate, fearful human being.”
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