Shia LaBeouf reveals he converted to Catholicism after studying religion for Padre Pio film

Actor says he believes ‘God was using my ego to draw me to Him. Drawing me away from worldly desires’

Amber Raiken
Friday 26 August 2022 08:10 BST
Shia LaBeouf reveals he converted to Catholicism after studying religion for Padre Pio film

Shia LaBeouf has revealed that he converted to Catholicism after studying the religion for his forthcoming movie, Padre Pio.

Padre Pio follows the controversial life of the Italian saint born Francesco Forgione in 1887, who was known for ​​portraying stigmata or crucifixion wounds on the body of Jesus Christ. ​​It is scheduled for release in US cinemas in September.

During an interview with Word on Fire Catholic Ministries’ Bishop Robert Barron on Thursday 25 August, LeBeouf said he had been struggling with his mental health before joining the film.

The controversial actor was dropped from a number of projects, as well as by his agent CAA, following allegations of abuse made against him by his ex-girlfriend, FKA twigs in 2020.

“I had nowhere to go. This was the last stop on the train. There was nowhere else to go — in every sense,” he said in the interview.  “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.’”

To better understand Saint Padre Pio, who he portrays in the biopic, LaBeuof said that he lived with a monastery of Franciscan Capuchin friars, which he described as a “reach-out” for him and helped him “draw away from worldly desires”.

The Transformers star then claimed that he was “tricked” by God in a good way, which he didn’t realise that until some “time had passed”.

“And when I got here, a switch happened,” he recalled. “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.”

During his conversation with the Bishop, LaBeouf explained how he felt “hope” in a way that he never had before through his stay at the monastery.

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

In the same interview, LaBeouf said he experienced suicidal thoughts following the backlash against him over twigs’s allegations.

Actor Shia LaBeouf (Getty Images)

In December 2020, LaBeouf’s ex-girlfriend, the British musician FKA twigs, sued him for “relentless abuse” including sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.

LaBeouf later denied causing twigs “any injury or loss”, saying that she was not “entitled to any relief or damages whatsoever”.

The trial date for twigs’s case against LaBeouf has been set for 17 April 2023.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on 0808 2000 247, or visit their website here.

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