Shia LaBeouf Spoke to His Dad for the First Time in 7 Years After Court-Mandated ‘Head Camp’

Shia LaBeouf
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

'He could have folded me if he had said something off-color.'

Shia LaBeouf is working through his complicated past in his new autobiographical film, Honey Boy. The 33-year-old former child star wrote and stars in the movie as James Lort, a character based off his father, Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf. 

On Tuesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Shia opens up about what it was like reconnecting with his dad after seven years apart. 

"I was in this 'head camp' they sent me to, and I wrote the first chunk," he says of writing the film's script. "When I got home, I hadn't seen my dad in seven years and my director, Alma Har'el, who's a wizard, she was like, 'You need to go see your dad.' So I went and saw my dad, recorded that, came home and I had the ending, wrestled it down and that was the process."

When Ellen asks Shia for clarification on what "head camp" means, the actor replies, "Head camp is where the court sends you when the other option is seven years in jail, pretty much."

He adds, "They said, 'You've got PTSD. We've got a solution.' So then we started doing this stuff called exposure therapy and through that process and recording all these conversations, that's where the movie came from."

Honey Boy also depicts Shia's time on Disney Channel's Even Stevens with the actor playing the role of his stage dad father. 

"I wasn't going to ask him because too much was riding," Shia says of his father's opinion of the film. "He could have folded me if he'd said something off-color, and he's an off-color character. I basically had him set up a web camera and watched him watch the whole movie. He didn't say much but he felt like I saw him, like, I saw him. I got him. He was very teary eyed. It was a love letter."

Also during Tuesday's episode of Ellen, Shia downs a ghost pepper before answering a lightning round of questions. While playing the game, he claims that his Peanut Butter Falcon co-star, Dakota Johnson, was his best on-screen kiss, before joking that he lied about his answer.

Honey Boy is out in select theaters on Nov. 8. Here's a look at the actor playing Shia in the film: