Shia LaBeouf Lived In A Monastery As Research To Play A Priest, But Now He's All-In And Has Converted To Catholicism

It has been a rough few years for Shia LaBeouf as he has faced numerous allegations and claims about his behavior on and off set. While his acting career has remained steady, his latest role as the real-life friar-turned-saint Padre Pio in an upcoming biopic may have been a turning point for him. Being a method actor, LaBeouf chose to live in a monastery to feel closer to the late Catholic friar. But his research led to him converting to Catholicism in the process.

According to New York Post, the Honey Boy actor opened up about his conversion to Word on Fire Catholic Ministries’ Bishop Robert Barron on the bishop’s YouTube page. Being a thorough actor, living in a monastery was nothing to Shia LaBeouf. But when LaBeouf began living amongst priests, something slowly started to become interested in Catholicism. The former Disney star admitted his research to play Padre Pio came at a low time in his life.

The reach-out had happened. I was already there, I had nowhere to go. This was the last stop on the train. There was nowhere else to go — in every sense. I know now that God was using my ego to draw me to Him. Drawing me away from worldly desires. It was all happening simultaneously. But there would have been no impetus for me to get in my car, drive up [to the monastery] if I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m gonna save my career.' And when I got here, a switch happened. It was like Three-Card Monte. It was like someone tricked me into it, it felt like. Not in a bad way. In a way that I couldn’t see it. I was so close to it that I couldn’t see it. I see it differently now that time has passed.

It seemed like doing the biopic was a case of “right role, right time.” LaBeouf already seemed to be transitioning away from his Hollywood life before he got the part of the Catholic saint. It seemed like going to the monastery was a life-transforming event for him. But his conversion seemed instantaneous rather than gradually for the Transformer star.

Shia LaBeouf admitted to the bishop he didn’t feel worthy of seeking salvation in any faith. That was until he met others who dealt with moral issues while living there. The 36-year-old actor revealed who he felt seen amongst the monastery’s residents.

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

Before his conversion to Catholicism, Shia LaBeouf was at the lowest point in his life as he faced a personal and professional crossroads. He was dealing with the fallout following a lawsuit alleging abuse from ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs and his alleged firing from Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling, which is a film surrounded by lots of drama, especially surrounded an alleged feud between Wilde and Florence Pugh. LaBeouf divulged to Bishop Barron where his mindset was before finding his faith.

I had a gun on the table. I was outta here. 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. But I was also in this deep desire to hold on.

So, LaBeouf’s darkest hour seemed endless at that moment. Of course, the Fury actor has been open about his issues with post-traumatic stress disorder and anger. The trauma was deep enough for Shia LaBeouf to contemplate ending his life.

Padre Pio will be Shia LaBeouf’s first project since receiving critical acclaim for 2020’s Pieces of a Woman. The Catholic-themed biopic will make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. In the meantime, there are multiple upcoming movies still coming out in 2022.

Adreon Patterson
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A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).