After Nearly a Year of Sobriety: Alcohol ‘Almost F***ed Up My Life’
Shia LaBeouf says he will never again get dragged out of a Broadway show and arrested after drunkenly harassing the (underpaid) cast.
In a new interview with Variety, the troubled former child star, who turned 30 in June, said that he stopped drinking alcohol nearly a year ago — around the time of his public intoxication arrest in Austin, Texas, last October when he drunkenly called a police officer a “silly man” over and over — and has no plans to ever go back to it. In fact, he’s trying so hard to keep booze out of his life that he wouldn’t pose near a vintage wine cellar during the magazine photo shoot.
“No. That s*** almost f***ed up my life,” the Transformers franchise and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull actor, who showed up for the magazine shoot wearing tattered pants and refused hair and makeup, said to the Variety photographer.
LaBeouf, who wouldn’t label himself as an addict but admitted to attending AA meetings, went on to say, “You don’t touch it. Alcohol or any of that s*** will send you haywire. I can’t f*** with none of it. I’ve got to keep my head low.”
LaBeouf has been jailed six times in his life, but the most public — after Austin and “Pimple-Gate” at Walgreens in 2007, that is — was when he interrupted Alan Cumming’s performance of Cabaret on Broadway in 2014. Asked if he was worried at the time that the incident would hurt him professionally, he said, “I had people tell me it was going to. People I respected — dudes I wanted to work with — just looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Life’s too short for this s***.’ I’m still earning my way back. I’m happy working.”
As LaBeouf has done before, he pointed to his wild childhood — he was arrested for the first time at 9 — during which his father exposed him to drugs. “There were drugs everywhere — marijuana, cocaine, heroin,” he said. “[My dad] gave me my first joint when I was probably 11 or 12.” Because of that, the Even Stevens star felt he never fit in with his Disney Channel peers. “They would invite the Hilary Duffs and Miley Cyruses to go to the Jonas Brothers concert, and I’d be there with my friends. But we were outsiders. It felt distant.”
LaBeouf, who dissed director Steven Spielberg in the article (“He’s less a director than he is a f***ing company”), said things started going haywire for him personally after he received online criticism for his Transformers, Wall Street 2, and Crystal Skull roles.
“I didn’t like going in public, because I had to face my failures constantly,” said LaBeouf, who has been earning rave reviews for American Honey. So he turned to alcohol. “Part of it was posturing. I never knew how to drink. I never liked to drink, but I knew you had to drink. It was a weird postmodern fascination with the f***-ups. When I met Robert Downey Jr., I was like, ‘Man, you got all this f***ing texture. How do I do this? How do I build texture?’”
LaBeouf, who is engaged to British actress-model Mia Goth, said that alcohol had a negative effect on him. “I got a Napoleonic complex,” he said. “I start drinking and I feel smaller than I am, and I get louder than I should. It’s just not for me, dude.”
While LaBeouf has earned himself quite the reputation for his arrests, the plagiarism scandal, and his performance art — some bizarre (#IAmSorry), some amusing (binge-watched his own movies), his run of bad press isn’t all downside.
“I don’t think I’d be working with the directors I’ve been working with if I had not f***ed up a bit,” said LaBeouf, who was interviewed in Prague, where he’s shooting a new drama about John McEnroe. “They wanted a f***ing fireball. They wanted a loose cannon. I’m learning how to distill my ‘crazy’ into something manageable, that I can shape and deliver on the day.” While before, “I was an open wound bleeding on everything.”