Shia LaBeouf Almost Starred in ‘Suicide Squad’

Shia LaBeouf American Honey Variety Cover
JIRI TUREK for Variety

In this week’s Variety cover story, Shia LaBeouf reveals that he’s sworn off big-studio tentpoles after “Transformers” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

But after shooting “Fury,” director David Ayer tried to convince him to consider a part in “Suicide Squad,” a role that eventually went to Scott Eastwood. “The character was different initially,” LaBeouf says. “Then Will [Smith] came in, and the script changed a bit. That character and Tom [Hardy’s] character [later played by Joel Kinnaman] got written down to build Will up.”

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LaBeouf says the studio vetoed his casting. “I don’t think Warner Bros. wanted me,” he says. “I went in to meet, and they were like, ‘Nah, you’re crazy. You’re a good actor, but not this one.’ It was a big investment for them.”

LaBeouf was more haunted by another role that got away–Casey Affleck’s Oscar-nominated turn in 2007’s “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” “The guy is fucking brilliant,” LaBeouf says. “You look at it and you go, ‘No way I could have pulled it off.’ But I wanted it so fucking bad. We all chased it. The whole generation went after that. Ben Foster is in the room. Casey. Everyone did.”

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He eventually got to work with Brad Pitt in “Fury,” thanks to Ayer. “My advice to him was – you got to have a healthy career diet,” Ayer says. “You do the big movies and then you go and down some for yourself. I think he’ll absolutely be back in the blockbuster business. He has a track record there.”

LaBeouf can next be seen in the indies “Man Down” and “American Honey,” which screens at this week’s Toronto Film Festival.

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