Shia LaBeouf Admits To Making Up His Father's Abusive Actions In Honey Boy

Shia LaBeouf grew up in front of cameras. The actor made his acting debut at age 12 in an episode of "Caroline in the City" before getting a main role in the Disney Channel sitcom "Even Stevens," which lasted for 65 episodes and a movie. Say what you will about his personal life, his stunts, or his career, but he still was the star of an "Indiana Jones" movie, for better and worse. But before he played Indy's son, he was a child actor, with all the problems that come with the territory.

The reality of child stars is a difficult one, as people like Jennette McCurdy ("iCarly") have reminded us in recent times. Abuse by loved ones and by a cold, calculating industry aren't out of the ordinary, unfortunately, and LaBeouf used his own experiences as a child actor to write the pseudo-autobiographical Sundance darling "Honey Boy."

The film stars Lucas Hedges and Noah Jupe as younger versions of LaBeouf and details LaBeouf's relationship with his abusive father (whom he plays in the film) as well as his childhood stardom. The film also stars Maika Monroe, Natasha Lyonne, Martin Starr, Clifton Collins Jr. and FKA twigs. Alma Har'el, who directed the film, has previously talked about how she connected to the script's portrayal of abuse, and how, as a child of abuse and addiction, she wanted to bring that to the screen in an accurate and respectful way.

It seems, however, that reports of the film's accuracy may have been exaggerated.

'My dad was so loving to me my whole life'

While on Jon Bernthal's "Real Ones" podcast, LaBeouf confessed to have taken creative liberties with his portrayal of his father in "Honey Boy." Well, creative liberties may be a bit of an understatement, because LaBeouf himself described the film's narrative as "Just f***ing nonsense."

"My dad was so loving to me my whole life. Fractured, sure. Crooked, sure. Wonky, for sure," LaBeouf said. "But never was not loving, never was not there. He was always there... and I'd done a world press tour about how f***ed he was as a man."

A big appeal of the film was that it was supposedly an autobiographical look at LaBeouf's time as a child star, particularly his time on "Even Stevens," as there are multiple references to that show in the film. To hear that was not true is a disservice to not just audiences, but particularly to LaBeouf's father. LaBeouf continued:

 "Here's a man who I've done vilified on a grand scale. I turned the knob up on certain s*** that wasn't real. My dad never hit me, never. He spanked me once, one time. And the story that gets painted in 'Honey Boy' is this dude is abusing his kid all the time."

The damage is done

This unfortunate and maddening situation brings to mind the controversy surrounding James Frey's book "A Million Little Pieces," which became a best-seller after being included in Oprah Winfrey's book club. Frey admitted that he embellished details of the story, including a prison stint, to make a better narrative.

Sure, LaBeouf also recognizes how messed up this is, and the damage he did to his father, but the damage is done, as he points out. "I wronged him. I remember getting on the phone with him, and him being like, 'I never read this stuff in the script you sent.' Because I didn't put that s*** in there."

"My dad was going to live with this certain narrative about him on a public scale for a very long time, probably the rest of his life," LaBeouf said. But the damage has been done.