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Shia LaBeouf plays his dad in the Honey Boy trailer

Screenshot: Honey Boy (YouTube)

“As a glorified form of drama therapy, Honey Boy is fascinating,” we wrote of Shia LaBeouf’s upcoming film, a “barely disguised autobiography” that follows the travails of a young actor named Otis Lort (Noah Jupe) and his leech of a showbiz dad (LaBeouf) in Hollywood. Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges co-stars as a teenage version of Otis, and the trailer opens with him on the set of what’s clearly a Transformers-like tentpole. Experimental R&B artist FKA Twigs also appears in what’s her feature film debut.

Here’s a synopsis:

From a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf, based on his own experiences, award-winning filmmaker Alma Har’el (Bombay Beach, LoveTrue) brings to life a young actor’s stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health. Fictionalizing his ascent to stardom, and subsequent crash-landing into rehab and recovery, Har’el casts Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) and Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased, Manchester by the Sea) as Otis Lort, navigating different stages in a frenetic career. LaBeouf takes on the therapeutic challenge of playing a version of his own father, an ex-rodeo clown and a felon. Dancer-singer FKA twigs makes her feature-film debut, playing neighbor and kindred spirit to the younger Otis in their garden-court motel home. Har’el’s feature narrative debut is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between filmmaker and subject, exploring art as medicine and imagination as hope through the life and times of a talented, traumatized performer who dares to go in search of himself.

Watch the trailer above ahead of its November 8 premiere.


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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.