Lifestyle & Human Interest

Shia LaBeouf Says Conversation with Co-Star Who Has Down Syndrome Saved Him After Arrest


Odd. Quirky. Visionary. Inspirational. Insane.

Depending on who you ask, you might get one of the above terms to describe Shia LaBeouf. He’s certainly made himself known, though not always for the best reasons.

From perennial memes to arrest reports, LaBeouf has made headlines. Many know him as the wacky little brother from the Disney show “Even Stevens,” though he’s also appeared in the “Transformers” movies, “Indiana Jones” and “Holes.”

One of his most recent projects was the movie “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” which hit theaters in August. The film is described as both quirky and heartwarming.

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“The Peanut Butter Falcon is an adventure story set in the world of a modern Mark Twain that begins when Zak (22), a young man with Down syndrome, runs away from the nursing home where he lives to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler by attending the wrestling school The Salt Water Redneck,” the plot summary on IMDB reads.

“Through circumstances beyond their control Tyler (32), a small-time outlaw on the run, becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally,” the description continues. “Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor (28), a kind nursing home employee with a story of her own, to join them on their journey.”

The dynamics between LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen — who plays Zak — “make a winning team,” according to The New York Times.

There’s more than meets the eye in the friendship between these two actors, though, and LaBeouf recently confirmed that even during some of the scenes they filmed, their interactions were incredibly healing for him.

In the film, LeBeouf portrays a character struggling with loss and petty crime, and in real life … his situation wasn’t that different.

Back in 2017, LaBeouf had a less-than-charming encounter with law enforcement. He called a police officer a variety of colorful names and was ultimately arrested for obstruction, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness, according to TMZ.

The next day it was business as usual — in a way. LaBeouf was back on set filming, but he was ashamed.

“The day after I got arrested we were on a boat, I couldn’t really look anybody in the eyes,” he told Cathy Newman of the United Kingdom’s Channel 4 this month. “And I was sitting next to him and he put his hand on my shoulder and like nursed me back on the boat, during the scene where we’re talking about, like, uh … the painful past.”

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“That stuff hurts, you know. That stuff hurt to go through and to film.”

Gottsagen said though LaBeouf’s actions saddened him, he encouraged the star to prove to himself that he’d “never, never, never do this kind of stuff again.”

“So actually the film sort of saved you in a way — is that too dramatic to say?” Newman asked LaBeouf during the interview.

“No,” LaBeouf said, “that’s not too dramatic to say.”

LaBeouf seems to have found some joy again through this process of working alongside Gottsagen, who is a relative newcomer to the world of film.

“The kid in me died and I just got over all this,” LaBeouf said. “This roller coaster wasn’t fun after a while. You ride the same roller coaster, it just loses its appeal. Then you go on it with somebody who hasn’t been on it before, and it somehow — it sparks back up.”

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