Shia LaBeouf's arrest was humiliating and eye-opening, but the actor says it was also "life changing" and described how it set him on a new path. LaBeouf accepted a screenwriting award Sunday night at the Hollywood Film Awards for his semi-autobiographical film, "Honey Boy."
During his acceptance speech, LaBeouf said, "I want to thank the police officer who arrested me in Georgia for changing my life." He also gave shout outs to “my therapist and my sponsor for saving my life” as well as his parents “for giving me life.”
LaBeouf was arrested in July 2017 in Savannah, Georgia and charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. According to the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, the "Transformers" star became disorderly after asking a bar patron for a cigarette, and he was observed using profanities and vulgar language. According to the police report:
"When the officer attempted to place LaBeouf under arrest, LaBeouf ran to a nearby hotel ... LaBeouf was arrested in the hotel lobby, where his disorderly behavior continued."
He was booked into jail around 4 AM And released the next morning after posting a $7,000 bond.
At the time, LaBeouf was in Savannah filming "The Peanut Butter Falcon" with Dakota Johnson.
It Was 'Mortifying'
LaBeouf later had the public drunkenness charge dropped and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction. He was sentenced to community service and court-ordered rehab to address his substance abuse issues.
During a 2018 interview with Esquire, LaBeouf admitted:
"What went on in Georgia was mortifying. White privilege and desperation and disaster... It came from a place of self-centered delusion... It was me trying to absolve myself of guilt for getting arrested ... I f---ed up.”
He Wrote 'Honey Boy' In Rehab
LaBeouf used his time working on his sobriety to channel his creativity and wrote most of the screenplay for "Honey Boy" while he was in rehab. The film mirrors his own life of a young adult, who was a child star, coming to terms with his abusive father, played by LaBeouf. He discussed the writing process back in September at the Toronto Film Festival.
"“I was in a court-ordered rehab facility and it was part of sussing out my past, flashlight to your soul, trying to get to know myself, like a shedding of skin in a way. I put it on a piece of paper like they told me, and then I get home and read it and it felt like it was in script form."
He explained sending the rough draft to friend and director Alma Har’el, who knew the star had a legit project on his hands.
According to a description of the movie:
"From a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf, based on his own experiences, award-winning filmmaker Alma Har'el (Bombay Beach, LoveTrue) brings to life a young actor's stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health. Fictionalizing his ascent to stardom, and subsequent crash-landing into rehab and recovery."
"Har'el's feature narrative debut is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between filmmaker and subject, exploring art as medicine and imagination as hope through the life and times of a talented, traumatized performer who dares to go in search of himself."
"Honey Boy" hits theaters November 8.