7 Things We Learned About Shia LaBeouf From THAT Esquire Interview

In what will surely become a seminal piece of journalism, Esquire's Eric Sullivan interviewed Shia LaBeouf ahead of his new film, Borg vs. McEnroe. In it, Shia takes us back to the root of his seemingly-endless troubles: drunken driving, trespassing, misdemeanors, daddy issues—the list goes on. We learned a lot, and the take-away is that Shia seems to be focusing on his shit for now. Enjoy seven surprising admissions from the 31-year-old actor.

1. He's Really Close With His Mom, Shayna

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Shia calls Shayna his "everything," and they talk every day. Part of his faults stem from his unresolved issues protecting her. When he was about nine, he overheard his mother getting raped.

"He says he now understands that the violence toward his mother that he witnessed, that he could not prevent, is the reason for his defensiveness, his own hair trigger for violence: 'The first time I got arrested with a real charge, it stemmed from the same shit. Some guy bumped into my mother’s car with his car in a parking lot, and my head went right to 'You need to avenge your mother!' So I went after the dude with a knife.' (He didn’t use it.) It's also why LaBeouf bought a gun as soon as he was able to; to this day, he sleeps with it. 'I've always thought somebody was coming in. My whole life.'"

2. And Has A Complicated Relationship With His Dad, Jeffrey

"His father, Jeffrey, grew up in San Francisco, trained as a commedia dell'arte clown, and once opened for the Doobie Brothers. He also served three tours in Vietnam and, once home, struggled for years with heroin addiction." 

Part of his treatment last year, LaBeouf underwent prolonged-exposure therapy: "And a lot of my shit has to do with my relationship with my dad... That dude is my gasoline. He's the whole reason I became an actor."

3. Kanye West Stole All Of His Clothes

"When Kanye went to LaBeouf's house to discuss possible art collaborations, he asked if he could have some of his clothes for a pop-up shop. 'Around the same time, I took my mother to his concert...She is, of course, obsessed with Kanye West. When I brought her backstage, he was a fucking sweetheart to her. And it just felt fair. So I'm like, Go for it, my guy. Take everything you want. And he did. He took all my fucking clothes. Me and him haven't really been in contact since he blew up onstage and, you know, shit on me."

4. He Fucking Hates Tennis

Despite playing the titular character John McEnroe, hotheaded tennis savant of the '80s, Shia isn't an ace player: "I have no interest in tennis. Zero. I only hate it more since having done this film. It's an elitist sport."

5. He Mutilated His Face For His Role in Fury

"To mimic the result of a smack to the face from the recoil of a gun, a common injury for gunners at the time, he had a dentist in the Valley shave down his lower incisor below the gum line. He sliced two parallel inch-long scars on his right cheek and, to keep them fresh, reopened them as needed for the duration of the seventy-day shoot, says director David Ayer."

6. He Once Stalked Alec Baldwin


During rehearsals for the Broadway production of Orphans, Shia "became so enraged that Alec Baldwin had not prepped as much as he had that LaBeouf openly antagonized him and was fired. Unable to give up on the character, LaBeouf started following his ex-costar home from the theater. Baldwin later told New York magazine, 'LaBeouf seems to carry with him, to put it mildly, a jailhouse mentality.'"

7. He's Cleaning Up His Act For Good This Time

Fresh out of rehab and sober now, the 31-year-old reflected on his many public incidents and arrests and says this:

"I'm a buffoon. My public outbursts are failures. They're not strategic. They're a struggling motherfucker showing his ass in front of the world...I've got to look at my failures in the face for a while. I need to take ownership of my shit and clean up my side of the street a bit before I can go out there and work again, so I'm trying to stay creative and learn from my mistakes. I've been falling forward for a long time. Most of my life. The truth is, in my desperation, I lost the plot."