LaBeouf in the interview with Barron said he believes God used his eagerness to resurrect his lagging movie career to put him on a path to healing and personal peace.
He hit a turning point when he was offered to play the lead in Abel Ferrara’s film “Padre Pio.” He leapt at the chance.
The actor spent an immense amount of time with Franciscan friars at Old Mission Santa Inés to prepare for the role, which made him increasingly curious about the faith that inspired Padre Pio.
He began diving into Scripture and the works of important Catholic writers.
In his interview with Barron, LaBeouf spoke about his view of Jesus prior to his having read the Gospels as someone who is “soft, fragile, all-loving, all-listening” but with “no ferocity, no romance.” What he encountered in the Gospels was a very different, masculine Christ, he said.
After the film’s completion, LaBeouf told CNA that playing the role of the saint while being immersed in his monastery and town added to the intensity.
“It’s enormous pressure, but it only served the film,” he said. “There are scenes where we’re running Mass and these aren’t actors in the seats. These are God-fearing people who love Pio and you feel it, and it only adds to the stakes.”
Despite the pressure, LaBeouf said that “I have never, in the course of my entire career, been on a set where the film felt easier to make.”
LaBeouf told ChurchPOP in a May 2023 interview after the film was completed that he was in RCIA, taking weekly classes, and was on track to be confirmed in seven months.
Asked what’s next for LaBeouf, Rodriguez said that his “main priority” is taking care of his newborn daughter Isabel.
LaBeouf is currently working on a film about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
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