Shia LaBeouf Says He Contemplated Suicide Before He Converted To Catholicism For His 'Padre Pio' Role

Shia LaBeouf makes his acting comeback at the Venice Film Festival this year in Abel Ferrara’sPadre Pio.” That makes LaBeouf’s term as persona non grata in the movie industry after his ex-girlfriend Tahliah Barnett (aka FKA Twigs) sued him for sexual battery and assault less than two years. But is LeBeouf back in Hollywood’s good graces yet? Not quite. The trial between him and Barnett doesn’t start until next April. In the meantime, “Padre Pio” is a good place to start for the actor’s attempt at a redemption arc, especially given Ferrara’s history at the Venice Lido.

READ MORE: Shia LeBeouf Claims He Wasn’t Fired From ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ & Says He Quit Due To Lack Of Rehearsal Time

But “Padre Pio” is more than just a comeback film for LaBeouf. In a 90-minute YouTube interview with Bishop Robert Barron (via NME), LeBeouf opened up about how Ferrara’s upcoming film saved his life in other ways than reviving his career. The film introduced the actor to Catholicism, to which he’s now converted from Judaism, and LaBeouf cited his conversion as saving him from thoughts of suicide.

In the interview, LaBeouf said he contemplated suicide after facing “shame like I had never experienced before” following a series of public scandals that included Barnett suing him as well as court-ordered rehab. “At this point, I’m nuclear,” said LaBeouf in the interview. “Nobody wants to talk to me, including my mother. The manager’s not calling. The agent’s not calling. I’m not connected to the business anymore.” The deep sense of shame and isolation led to suicidal ideation for the actor. “I had a gun on the table,” LaBeouf continued. “I was outta here. I didn’t want to be alive anymore when all this happened. Shame like I had never experienced before – the kind of shame that you forget how to breathe. You don’t know where to go.”

“But I was also in the deep desire to hold on,” LaBeouf continued. That desire opened up the actor finding the Catholic faith during his research on Padre Pio for Ferrara’s upcoming film. LaBeouf said his mindset was still focused on his career when he initially took on the project, but soon spirituality took over. “The reach-out had happened. I was already there; I had nowhere to go,” LaBeouf continued. “This was the last stop on the train. There was nowhere else to go – in every sense.”

LaBeouf’s time at a monastery prepping for “Padre Pio” solidified his conversion to Catholicism as well as leaving his thoughts of suicide behind. “I know now that God was using my ego to draw me to Him,” LaBeouf said. “Drawing me away from worldly desires. It was all happening simultaneously. But there would have been no impetus for me to get in my car, drive up [to the monastery] if I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m gonna save my career.’”

It remains unclear if LaBeouf’s career has indeed been salvaged. As stated earlier, the trial between LaBeouf and Barnett doesn’t begin until April 2023, and how that case plays out will likely determine much of LaBeouf’s future in the movie industry. LaBeouf didn’t mention Barnett by name in the YouTube interview, referring to her only as “the woman who accused me of all this,” but he had no ill will in his words about her. In fact, LaBeouf’s comments about his upcoming trial display the opposite. “I wanted to go on Twitter and write all these things. I wanted to justify this and explain all this,” he said. “Now I actually see that the woman saved my life. She is, for me, a saint in my life. She saved my life. That perspective switch feels miraculous.”

LaBeouf continues to deny the allegations against him as the court case looms next spring. In the meantime, Ferrara’s “Padre Pio,” a biopic about the Franciscan Capuchin friar who was venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church after his death, has its world premiere in Venice on September 2. In the lead-up to Venice, LaBeouf finds himself entangled with Olivia Wilde on whether or not she fired him from her upcoming film “Don’t Worry Darling,” which also has its world premiere on the Lido next week. LaBeouf denies Wilde’s claims she fired him due to his “combative energy,” claiming that he instead quit the production due to lack of rehearsal time. One wonders if this dispute will spill over into the festival’s proceedings.