The ''Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen'' star talks about the July car accident that permanently damaged his left hand

By Steve Daly
Updated April 17, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

It took only moments for Shia LaBeouf’s green Ford truck to flip over during an early-morning accident last July 27 in West Hollywood. But nearly nine months later, the actor’s left hand still hasn’t entirely healed. By all accounts, LaBeouf was making a legal left turn when another driver ran a red light and plowed into the side of his truck. At the moment of impact, the actor had his left hand out the window, and the truck rolled onto his hand as it flipped, damaging it so badly that the bones in one finger were essentially pulverized. (His passenger, Transformers sequel costar Isabel Lucas, was unhurt, as were the man and woman in the other car.) The actor was quickly hospitalized and underwent surgery on his hand. Police cited him with a misdemeanor DUI, reportedly claiming he’d shown ”signs of intoxication.” (Ultimately he wasn’t prosecuted, though his license was suspended in January for refusing a Breathalyzer test.) In an exclusive interview, the 22-year-old star discusses the impact of his accident — including a fateful phone call from his costar in last summer’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Harrison Ford.

EW: You have a third surgery on your hand scheduled this month. What’s going on?
SHIA LABEOUF: They shaved a piece of bone off my hip and made a finger out of it. [But] my middle finger is still crooked as a f—ing noodle, so they’ve gotta straighten it out and put a screw in it.

EW: How much usage of your left hand will you get back?
SL: Probably about 80-something percent. I’ll be able to make a fist again. There’s a knuckle I’ll never be able to move again, but that’s probably the only permanent damage, other than the scarring.

EW: What do you remember about your first surgery?
SL: The first voice I heard when I came out of surgery was Harrison’s. Harrison [Ford] called me and said, ”Hey, are you okay?” I said, ”Yeah, I’m good.” He said, ”Then you need to get back to work.” So I went back to work.

EW: How soon did you return?
SL: I was only down for two weeks. The average bone-healing time is six months. The thing that cut deep was knowing there were 65 human beings [in the crew] waiting for me. It’s the most intense s— I’ve ever dealt with, and am still dealing with. If people look at me like a drunk a–hole, that’s okay. But my family looks at me like a different person, and I know my crew respects me. At the end of the day, I can’t do much more.

EW: How debilitating has the injury been?
SL: It’s hard to button your pants or brush your teeth, let alone jump off a three-story building into a pad. This movie was the most physical thing I’ve ever had to do, and I had to do it with a broken hand. I also got 25 stitches in various parts of my body — stuff that had nothing to do with my hand.

EW: How did you do all those action scenes with one arm?
SL: My pain tolerance became outrageous. When a gust of wind hits a broken bone, you feel it.

EW: In October, there was a report you got hit with a prop just above one eye.
SL: I basically stuck a f—ing sharp object through my eyelid. They stitched me up in a military hospital. The doctor looks at me and he holds his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart. I said, ”What is that?” He said, ”Blindness.”