Producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones admits he “cried” when he first read Shia LaBeouf‘s script for “Honey Boy.” “I think everybody that has parent issues can engage in some way in the loss and pain that Shia went through. It is profoundly personal, but I think also really amazing in terms of how it is so universal.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Kavanaugh-Jones above.
Written by LaBeouf during his own stay in rehab, the Amazon Studios release draws from many of the actor’s real-life experiences. It centers on Otis (played by Noah Jupe as a boy and Lucas Hedges as an adult), a former child actor struggling with addiction and post-traumatic stress fueled by his relationship with his abusive dad, who is actually played by LaBeouf himself.
Given the obvious parallels to LaBeouf’s own life, one could’ve expected on-set horror stories. Yet he was “as prepared and intelligent and incredible an actor” as Kavanaugh-Jones has worked with. “It took a lot for him to go through this process, and to play his dad. There were certainly times that were fraught and challenging and hard, but I think he was really open and honest in that process.”
Just getting the movie made seemed like “an impossibility across the board: we didn’t have enough money, we didn’t have enough days.” Much of the praise for pulling it off goes to director Alma Har’el, a documentary and commercial veteran making her narrative feature debut. “The incredible ambition that she had, and her take-no-prisoners, never take no for an answer attitude” were crucial to the film. “I think that’s the heartbeat of any indie movie, but Alma was our captain, and was incredible in swinging at everything.”
Kavanaugh-Jones has an extensive filmography as a producer, with credits including Jeff Nichols‘s movies “Take Shelter” (2011), “Midnight Special” (2016) and “Loving” (2016); “Destroyer” (2018); the “Insidious” horror franchise; and the upcoming Kristen Stewart drama “Seberg.”
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