The Peanut Butter Falcon was the little movie that could when it came out in 2019. Starring Dakota Johnson, Shia Labeouf, Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, John Hawkes, Jon Bernthal and Zack Gottsagen, the story of a young man with Down Syndrome escaping his home to attend a wrestling camp with a little bit of help went on to be an indie box office hit. Its stellar cast likely helps and Dakota Johnson knows she was lucky to be able to work on the film.
In a recent profile for Marie Claire, the actress spoke out about being in “a place that felt very dark” when she saw the short that would later become The Peanut Butter Falcon. Working with Shia LaBeouf, she came to realize.
I think Shia might be the greatest actor of my generation, which I wouldn’t say to his face.
Although the latter part is a bit of a joke, Dakota Johnson makes it very clear that The Peanut Butter Falcon was a positive experience and that Shia is an actor who puts everything into a role, which echoes what The Peanut Butter Falcon directors previously said when they mentioned with Shia there is “no half ass.” It wasn’t just Shia LaBeouf bringing everything he had to the role either. She said working with her co-star Zack Gottsagen totally helped her to change her point of view on life.
Zack Gottsagen has become one of the greatest loves of my life. He totally shifted my world.
While Shia LaBeouf brings an emotionality and even a sense of danger to Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz’s movie, it’s Zack who brings in a lot of the film's heart and humor, like when LaBeouf’s Tyler is constantly asking him what the number one rule is, to which Zak responds “party.” Humor aside, LaBeouf has previously credited Zak with “saving him” in a way, as he was going through a tough time prior to the 2019 movie's production and Zack helped him to get sober. So, it sounds like the movie was a positive experience for everyone involved.
The working relationship between the actors paid off in spades when the movie finally hit theaters and led the specialty box office at the time of release. It went on to make more than $22 million, a lot of it in smaller markets than Los Angeles or New York. In fact, it did well in places like Salt Lake City, which to me adds to the charm of the film.
Shia LaBeouf was actually in two movies last year where he put in incredible performances, the first being The Peanut Butter Falcon and the second being the semi-autobiographical flick Honey Boy. Next up he’ll star in Suicide Squad director David Ayer’s next film The Tax Collector -- another role LaBeouf clearly put a lot into.
Meanwhile, while Dakota Johnson has a lot of nice things to say about her co-star’s acting, she’s no slouch either. Her next film will be The High Note alongside Ice Cube, June Diane Raphael, Bill Pullman and Tracee Ellis Ross. She’s also currently in negotiations to star in Olivia Wilde’s next film Don’t Worry Darling, which is coming after Wilde broke through on the directorial front with Booksmart.bo