LaBeouf joins Adam Driver and Aubrey Plaza in Coppola’s epic, adding to the embattled actor’s growing list of comeback projects.
Shia LaBeouf is not worried about his return.
After parting ways with Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling,” backtracking on the autobiographical status of his father-son drama “Honey Boy,” and discussing the abuse allegations and lawsuit brought by his former partner FKA Twigs, the ” Padre Pio” has joined the huge cast of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis.”
LaBeouf’s casting announcement also included that director Coppola’s sister, Talia Shire (“Rocky”), will be reuniting with the author after starring in “The Godfather,” along with her nephew Jason Schwartzman. Grace Vanderwaal, Kathryn Hunter and James Remar also join the cast.
Previously announced “Megalopolis” megastars include Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight and Aubrey Plaza. The official synopsis for “Megalopolis” eerily reads: “The fate of Rome lies in wait for 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 dollars to finance the epic futuristic film, which has been more than 20 years in the making. The film will shoot in Georgia beginning in November 2022 and continuing through March 2023.
LaBeouf also stars in Abel Ferrara’s biopic “Padre Pio” about controversial priest Francesco Forgione. The “Hoos” alum was cast in the role after Willem Dafoe suggested he was the perfect fit to play the Italian monk who rose to Catholic fame during two world wars. The film premieres at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, which LaBeouf will attend. However, the actor will not do press for the film.
“He’s an iconic figure,” director Ferrara previously told Variety of Padre Pio’s legacy. “He’s in the back of all the trucks. He is the saint of all the drug dealers in Naples. Pio is like the alternate Jesus, in a way.”
After connecting with LaBeouf on paper, Ferrara said the “Transformers” alum was “driving to a monastery in California” soon after to fully immerse himself in the experience. LaBeouf dressed in monk’s robes and slept in Padre Pio’s former bed at a southern Italian monastery during production. Ferrara noted that the film is supported by Padre Pio’s brotherhood, with LaBeouf performing opposite real monks.
“He’s giving him his own life,” Ferrara said of LaBeouf’s performance. “You’re looking at a person going through a very similar experience. It’s not just about wearing robes and performing actions. It connected very deeply with Pio’s journey in the film. When the actor is on a parallel-type journey, that’s when you get such a powerful performance.”
LaBeouf took a two-year break from acting following allegations of assault by ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs. LaBeouf is also slated to star in “After Exile,” opposite Robert De Niro, about an ex-con seeking redemption.