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Shia LaBeouf Says He’s Been Sober for Almost a Year: ‘I’m Still Earning My Way Back’

Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf on Jan. 21, 2016, in Los Angeles.

Back on track. Shia LaBeouf opened up about his past behavior, staying sober and why he never fit in with his fellow Disney stars in a candid interview with Variety.

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The Lawless actor, 30, revealed that he hasn’t had a drink in almost a year, and although he doesn’t call himself an addict, he regularly attends AA meetings. “Alcohol or any of that s–t will send you haywire. I can’t f–k with none of it. I’ve got to keep my head low,” he said. "I got a Napoleonic complex. I start drinking and I feel smaller than I am, and I get louder than I should. It’s just not for me, dude.”

In the past five years, the Fury star has been arrested for several alcohol-related incidents and garnered attention for his bizarre antics, such as wearing a paper bag over his head to his movie premiere. "I had people tell me it was going to [ruin my career],” he said. “People I respected — dudes I wanted to work with — just looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Life’s too short for this s–t.’ I’m still earning my way back. I’m happy working.”

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LaBeouf, who got his start as a Disney star, also got candid about his upbringing and the influence it had on his career. While he filmed Even Stevens, he lived in a hotel with his dad. "There were drugs everywhere — marijuana, cocaine, heroin,” he said of his father’s friends. “[My dad] gave me my first joint when I was probably 11 or 12.” He explained that he never meshed with the rest of the Disney crowd because of his childhood. "They would invite the Hilary Duffs and Miley Cyruses to go to the Jonas Brothers concert, and I’d be there with my friends. But we were outsiders. It felt distant,” he said.

Recently, LaBeouf has starred in a string of indie films, including the highly praised American Honey, instead of the blockbusters that defined his early career. “I don’t think I’d be working with the directors I’ve been working with if I had not f–ked up a bit,” he told Variety. “They wanted a f–king fireball. They wanted a loose cannon. I’m learning how to distill my ‘crazy’ into something manageable, that I can shape and deliver on the day. …[Before] I was an open wound bleeding on everything.”

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While he has nothing but praise for his Transformers director, Michael Bay, some other well-known Hollywood directors are a different story. "I don’t like the movies that I made with [Steven] Spielberg. The only movie that I liked that we made together was the Transformers one,” he said of the film, which Spielberg executive-produced. Spielberg also directed him in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and executive-produced LaBeouf’s film Eagle Eye, along with the rest of the Transformers franchise.

"You get there, and you realize you’re not meeting the Spielberg you dream of,” LaBeouf continued. “You’re meeting a different Spielberg, who is in a different stage in his career. He’s less a director than he is a f–king company.”

As for what’s next, the actor revealed that despite Oscar speculation for American Honey, he’s not getting caught up in it. “The Oscars are about politics,” he said. “I gotta earn my way back. It’s not about who is the best. I’m not that guy for a long time — for a long, long time.” 

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