In a really fascinating profile published by Variety today, actor and occasional performance artist Shia LaBeouf addresses a few of the more controversial aspects of his career (his arrest, drinking problems, etc.) and discusses working with some of the biggest directors in Hollywood (Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg). But one of the most intriguing revelations from the article is that LaBeouf almost starred in Suicide Squad — that is, until the studio (and some script changes) got in the way.

Variety’s full profile on LaBeouf is fantastic and definitely worth a read for several reasons, not the least of which:

  • LaBeouf got two tattoo portraits of Missy Elliott on his knees while filming American Honey.
  • He says he doesn’t like the films he made with Steven Spielberg (with the exception of the first Transformers), and refers to the iconic director as “a company.”
  • LaBeouf thinks Michael Bay is “an artist,” but if he wants to continue his career, he has to stop emulating James Cameron: “he’s got to get f–king weird.” He’s not wrong.
  • He also thinks method acting is baloney: “You don’t hear about female method actors. The whole thing has turned into weird, false masculinity sh-t.”

Speaking of which…LaBeouf reveals that director David Ayer originally wanted to cast the Fury star in Suicide Squad, in which he was meant to play the part that eventually went to Scott Eastwood. According to LaBeouf, the pitifully small special forces role was initially much bigger when he was attached, but the script was changed to accommodate Will Smith’s casting as Deadshot – leaving Rick Flag and Lt. GQ Edwards (yes, Eastwood’s meaningless character had a name) with diminished roles. That might also explain why Tom Hardy dropped out and was replaced by Joel Kinnaman.

Per LaBeouf, those changes weren’t the only thing that kept him from re-teaming with Ayer. The actor says that Warner Bros. didn’t want him in the film:

I don’t think Warner Bros. wanted me. I went in to meet, and they were like, ‘Nah, you’re crazy. You’re a good actor, but not this one.’ It was a big investment for them.

…And we all saw how that investment worked out. Despite its success at the box office, Suicide Squad was largely derided as another expensively messy, tonally disastrous installment in Warner Bros.’ DC franchise — and LaBeouf is probably much better off for skipping it, to be honest.

Up next, LaBeouf continues his streak of edgy, challenging indies with American Honey, a new film from Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank) that centers on a rowdy group of traveling magazine salespeople / thieves. The film — and LaBeouf’s performance in it — is already generating awards season buzz ahead of its September 30 release.

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