Shia LaBeouf has had some interesting scrapes with faith before. For his role in 2014’s Fury, he went extremely method and “became a Christian” as a way of getting into character. That was before the past few years of scandals, which have included serious accusations of abuse and sexual battery. But now, in a new interview, the actor says he became a Catholic while preparing for his new film Padre Pio. Via Page Six:
“I had a gun on the table. I was outta here,” LaBeouf said in a YouTube interview with Bishop Barron, remarking on the place he found himself in after his ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs revealed allegations of abuse. “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.”
LaBeouf moved in with a group of Franciscan Capuchin friars as part of his preparation for his role as an Italian priest, but says his time there had a big impact on him. “I know now that God was using my ego to draw me to Him,” he says. “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 friars] if I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m gonna save my career.’”
LaBeouf has had several run-ins with the law over the years, but FKA Twigs’ lawsuit is by far the more serious allegation. She detailed ugly instances of physical and emotional abuse, saying he once went as far as choking her in the middle of the night. Another ex-girlfriend made similar allegations, saying LaBeouf head-butted her.
In his conversation with Bishop Barron, LaBeouf does not deny the allegations. He says he was “disgusting” and “depraved” in his past actions. He says that being around other Christians who’ve had to confront the ugliness of their own actions convinced him that the Church had a place for him.
“It was seeing other people who have sinned beyond anything I could ever conceptualize also being found in Christ that made me feel like, ‘Oh, that gives me hope,’” he said. “I started hearing experiences of other depraved people who had found their way in this, and it made me feel like I had permission.”
Obviously, this is all very true. There is infinite grace and mercy for all who come to Jesus, and that includes LaBeouf. Hopefully, this transformation will also involve him seeking real restitution with the people he’s hurt and accepting the consequences of his actions as well as the grace offered by God.
You can watch the whole conversation here.