Shia LaBeouf Admits He Felt ‘Suicidal’ While Filming ‘Man Down’

In actor Shia LaBeouf’s latest film, Man Down, LaBeouf plays a Marine coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. Upon returning home from Afghanistan, LaBeouf’s character discovers his wife and son have gone missing after America is destroyed by an epidemic and sets out to search for his family. LaBeouf and director Dito Montiel described Man Down as the story about a man trying to get his son back as opposed to being a war film.

“This is definitely the most difficult thing I’ve ever worked on, emotionally, which is why I had to do it with [Dito],” Shia LaBeouf said. “I needed a friend, otherwise you can’t get this vulnerable.”

At the Venice Film Festival on Sunday, Shia LaBeouf showed up for the Man Down premiere with his recently shaven head and a black tuxedo. Shia told reporters working with director Dito Montiel on the film was “like therapy.” LaBeouf and Montiel previously worked together on 2006’s A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.

“[Dito] came to my house when I was at a really low place and offered it to me like therapy, like, ‘Hey, here’s a healing process where we can jump into this together and get well. With where I was at and the way he presented it to me, it didn’t feel like we were going to go make another movie. It felt like we were gonna grow up.”

According to the Daily Beast, when Shia was asked what dark place he had to go to while filming the movie, LaBeouf answered, “Suicidal, and… you know.. you try your hardest, you know? You jump onto some other train of thought, or some other passion, or fall in love with another creative process and find yourself somewhere else.”

Shia LaBeouf said his role as a Marine with PTSD had him thinking about his childhood. Shia’s father was a Vietnam War veteran who turned to drugs. When LaBeouf was a child, his father pulled a gun on him when he was having a Vietnam flashback.

Shia LaBeouf said, “Gabriel [LaBeouf’s character] is my Dad, and also the Dad I always wanted. He’s both. He’s the dream Dad that I always wanted, and also at times the other guy, too.”

LaBeouf explained he’s going to stop “chasing” a list of top directors and work with friends.

“I want to work with people that I have a connection with. I think for a while I was chasing the 10 list, right? The 10 directors you want to work with — and that didn’t fare well for me. I do much better with loving, familial environments where you feel like you can fail and the dude will get you on the other side. So I’m trying to make friends now and work with those people.”

Shia LaBeouf’s film has received mixed reviews. The Daily Beast writes Shia LaBeouf “delivers a thrilling, visceral perfomance in Man Down.”

The Hollywood Reporter, however, writes LaBeouf’s performance is “over-powered by the film’s grandiose, misplaced ambition to switch back and forth between genres, from the war film to sci fi, from family film to the intimately psychological.”

Do you plan on watching Shia LaBeouf star in Man Down?

[Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images]