The Even Stevens alum, 36, responded to the allegations Wilde, 38, laid out in her recent Variety cover story, telling the outlet in a Thursday, August 25, statement that he “quit the film due to lack of rehearsal time.” He sent the outlet emails he claimed to have exchanged with the House alum, in which he wrote, “You and I both know the reasons for my exit. I quit your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse.”
He went on to allege: “Firing me never took place, Olivia. And while I fully understand the attractiveness of pushing that story because of the current social landscape, the social currency that brings. It is not the truth. So I am humbly asking, as a person with an eye toward making things right, that you correct the narrative as best you can. I hope none of this negatively effects you, and that your film is successful in all the ways you want it to be.”
Along with his email, the Peanut Butter Falcon star included a video Wilde allegedly sent to him in August 2020. “I feel like I’m not ready to give up on this yet, and I too am heartbroken and I want to figure this out,” she said, seemingly referring to LaBeouf’s departure from the movie.
LaBeouf was initially cast as leading man Jack in the upcoming thriller, which hits theaters this fall. In September 2020, news broke that Harry Styles replaced the Honey Boy actor in the role. The “Golden” musician, 28, stars alongside Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Nick Kroll and Wilde, whom he sparked a romance with during filming.
In her Variety profile, which was published on Wednesday, August 24, the Booksmart director offered an explanation for why LaBeouf exited the project. “I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work. His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions,” she claimed. “He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don’t personally believe that is conducive to the best performances. I believe that creating a safe, trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best work. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job.”
Wilde, who has previously asserted that she has a “no a–holes policy” for her movies, noted that she wanted Pugh, 26, to feel as comfortable as possible with her scene partner. “A lot came to light after this happened that really troubled me, in terms of his behavior,” she continued. “For our film, what we really needed was an energy that was incredibly supportive. Particularly with a movie like this, I knew that I was going to be asking Florence to be in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was making her feel safe and making her feel supported. … I find myself just really wishing [Shia] health and evolution because I believe in restorative justice.”
Months after his exit from Don’t Worry Darling made headlines, LaBeouf’s ex FKA Twigs accused him of “relentless abuse, assault, sexual battery and infliction of emotional distress” throughout their nine-month relationship. In her December 2020 lawsuit, the Grammy nominee also alleged LaBeouf knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease.
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he told The New York Times in a statement amid the scandal. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say.”
At the time, the Transformers actor claimed “many of these allegations are not true” but told the newspaper that he “accepts accountability for those things I have done.”
“I have embarked on a journey that feels redemptive & righteous (dirty word but fitting),” he told Wilde. “I write to you now with 627 days of sobriety and a moral compass that never existed before my great humbling that was the last year and a quarter of my life. I reached out to you a few months ago to make amends; & I still pray one day, you can find space in your heart to forgive me for the failed collaboration we shared. … My failings with Twigs are fundamental and real, but they are not the narrative that has been presented. There is a time and a place to deal with such things, and I am trying to navigate a nuanced situation with respect for her and the truth, hence my silence. But this situation with your film and my ‘firing’ will never have a court date with which to deal with the facts. If lies are repeated enough in the public they become truth.”