Shia LeBeouf has been cast in his first film since allegations of sexual abuse were leveled against the troubled actor by his former girlfriend FKA Twigs.
Variety reports that LaBeouf has signed on to star in director Abel Ferrara’s upcoming film about Padre Pio, with LaBeouf in the role of the Italian saint.
“We’re doing a film about Padre Pio, he’s a monk from Puglia. It’s set in Italy right after World War I. He’s now a saint, he had stigmata. He was also in the middle of a very heavy political period in world history,” Ferrara told Variety. “He was very young before he became a saint, so Shia LaBeouf is going to play the monk.”
Representatives for LaBeouf and Ferrara did not respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment at press time.
Ferrara said he expects to begin filming in Puglia, Italy, in October. Europe has become a safe haven of sorts for actors and filmmakers who have been exiled from Hollywood due to allegations of sexual abuse: Kevin Spacey is reportedly set to return to the big screen in Franco Nero’s Italian film L’uomo Che Disegno Dio, while Woody Allen has continued to quietly direct films set in Spain and Paris in the aftermath of his abuse accusations.
As Variety notes, while production on the Padre Pio film is set to begin this fall, the tenuous nature of independent filmmaking — as well as producers’ concern about the marketability of LaBeouf in a lead role — could still impact the project.
In December 2020, FKA Twigs sued LaBeouf, claiming he physically, emotionally, and mentally abused her while they were in a relationship that lasted just under a year. The lawsuit also detailed allegations of sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress. LaBeouf at first apologized but later denied the accusations.