By Anita Tai.

Shia LaBeouf is talking about how he found faith in his newest film.

The actor plays Italian priest Francesco Forgione in the biopic “Padre Pio” from director Abel Ferrara. Speaking with Bishop Robert Barron in an interview, he spoke about how studying Catholicism for the role helped renew his relationship with spirituality.

Before working on the film, LaBeouf said he was lost in life.

“I didn’t want to be an actor anymore, and my life was a complete mess,” he shared. “I had hurt a lot of people, and I felt deep shame and deep guilt.”

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He spoke about a dark moment in his life where he contemplated suicide.

“I had a gun on the table. I was outta here,” Shia recalled. “I didn’t want to be alive anymore when all this happened. Shame like I had never experienced before — the kind of shame that you forget how to breathe. You don’t know where to go. You can’t go outside and get like, a taco.”

In December 2020, he faced allegations of abuse from his ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs and was also charged with misdemeanor battery and petty theft in a charged incident with a man.

After preparing for the role of Forgione, however, he found a spiritual connection that turned his life around.

“I know now God was using my ego to draw me to Him, was drawing me away from worldly desires,” LaBeouf said. “It was all happening simultaneously. But there would have been no impetus for me to get in the car and drive up (to the monastery) if I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m gonna save my career.’ ”

It was in seeing other people who had troubled pasts also find forgiveness in religion that the actor found salvation.

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“It was seeing other people who had sinned beyond anything I could even conceptualize also being found in Christ that made me feel like, ‘Okay, that gives me hope,’ ” LaBeouf explained. “I started hearing experiences of other depraved people who had found their way in this, and it made me feel like I had permission.”

“Padre Pio” is currently in post-production.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.


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Ellen Bullock