Producer Daniela Taplin Lundberg thought Shia LaBeouf‘s screenplay for “Honey Boy” was “some of the most excellent writing I had read in a really long time.” The script, which was based on the actor’s own struggles, “wasn’t just this self-indulgent piece where someone was complaining about his childhood. It was this accurately self-reflective story about someone’s love for his father, but also his own personal demons.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Lundberg and fellow producers Anita Gou and Chris Leggett above.
LaBeouf stars in the Amazon Studios release as a man loosely based on his own father, a bitter former clown whose son (played as a child by Noah Jupe and as an adult by Lucas Hedges) has his acting career sidelined by substance abuse and scandal. The parallels to LaBeouf’s own life were clear to all involved. “There was an urgency in Shia,” reveals Leggett, “and everybody started to feel that this movie had to get made.”
Part of getting it made meant finding the right director, and documentarian-turned-narrative feature filmmaker Alma Har’el, whom Leggett had worked with several times, seemed like the perfect choice. “There was nobody else who could’ve made this movie,” says Gou. “Alma and Shia already had such a trusting relationship with each other.” And it helped that in addition to her “idiosyncratic” docs she was also “such an accomplished director and filmmaker on commercials and music videos.”
Gou, Leggett and Lundberg all have extensive credits as producers. This year alone Gou has also worked on “The Farewell,” Lundberg on “Harriet” and Leggett on documentary awards contenders “Mike Wallace is Here” and “Ask Dr. Ruth.” On the awards scene, Lundberg competed at the Independent Spirits for “Beasts of No Nation” and “Patti Cake$” and at the Gothams for “The Kids Are All Right,” while Gou earned her first Gotham bid this year for “The Farewell” and Leggett won the Best Documentary prize at SXSW for “The Short Game.”
Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.