Shia LaBeouf Reveals He Almost Killed Himself

by Chris Piner

At only 36 years old, actor Shia LaBeouf rapidly climbed the ranks of Hollywood with his breakout role as Louis Stevens in the Disney Channel’s Even Stevens. That role alone landed him a Daytime Emmy Award in 2003. Looking past television to the silver screen, the star helmed franchises like Transformers and acted in films like Lawless, Fury, and even Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Although a leading man in Hollywood, recently, LaBeouf had some trouble with the law when he was charged with two misdemeanors for theft and battery. Not to mention his ex-girlfriend accused him of being abusive. Not shying away from his troubles, the celebrity discussed his upcoming film and how it helped him find religion. 

In the new film, Padre Pio, Shia LaBeouf plays Italian Francesco Forgione, who was born in 1887. The mystery around Forgione happened after he revealed crucifixion wounds much like those found on the body of Jesus Christ. Although many scrutinized and criticized him for the markings, there has yet to be a medical explanation for the wounds that healed over time. Passing away in 1968, Forgione was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999 and canonized just three years later. 

Shia LaBeouf Recalls Thoughts Of Suicide

Diving into the role, Shia LaBeouf moved into a monastery of Franciscan Capuchin friars, leading him to his own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Speaking with Word on Fire Catholic Ministries’ Bishop Robert Barron, the actor revealed his process led him to convert to Catholicism and saved his life.  “I had a gun on the table. I was outta here. I didn’t want to be alive anymore when all this happened. Shame like I had never experienced before — the kind of shame that you forget how to breathe. You don’t know where to go. You can’t go outside and get like, a taco. But I was also in this deep desire to hold on.”

Shia LaBeouf recalled his experiences with God using his ego to help him. “I know now that God was using my ego to draw me to Him. Drawing me away from worldly desires. It was all happening simultaneously. But there would have been no impetus for me to get in my car, drive up [to the monastery] if I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m gonna save my career.’ And when I got here, a switch happened. It was like Three-Card Monte. It was like someone tricked me into it, it felt like,” the actor recounted. “Not in a bad way. In a way that I couldn’t see it. I was so close to it that I couldn’t see it. I see it differently now that time has passed.”

Finding A Connection To Francesco Forgione

After finding religion, Shia LaBeouf found a personal connection with Francesco Forgione, causing him to not mimic his Italian accent. When asked by the director, Abel Ferrara to do it, the actor stated, “While we were practicing Latin Mass, I was having genuine emotional experiences, and aside from the fact that as a Neapolitan speaker, [Pio’s] accent wouldn’t have matched Italian anyway, but it felt like that would have taken me out of this thing that felt very personal.”