LaBeouf plays a character inspired by his real-life father in the new film

By Joey Nolfi
August 08, 2019 at 09:14 AM EDT
11/08/19
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The first trailer for Shia LaBeouf’s Honey Boy has hit a dramatic sweet spot.

After the Alma Har’el-directed film wowed audiences and critics at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the semi-autobiographical drama’s preview (above) teases the journey of Otis Lort (Lucas Hedges), a young man grappling with his relationship with his erratic, ex-rodeo clown father, James (LaBeouf). A former child star, Otis spends most of the film attempting to mend his ties to his dad, all while the paternal figure resorts to law-breaking antics and alcohol abuse.

“I pump you full of strength because we’re on a team and I know you’ve got what it takes,” LaBeouf, sporting a radical look with a bald spot and thin, circular glasses, tells Noah Jupe, who plays an even younger version of Otis at the height of his youthful fame. “You’re a star and I know it. That’s why I’m here. I’m your cheerleader, Honey Boy.”

The trailer also chronicles the effects of their turbulent relationship, including a harrowing arrest in Otis’ adult life.

“How do you think it feels to have my son paying me? How do you think that feels?” James tells Otis later in the clip. “You wouldn’t be here if I didn’t pay you,” his son responds.

LaBeouf wrote the screenplay based on his real-life experience with his own father and, judging by the new trailer, how their connection frayed while he filmed his popular Disney Channel series Even Stevens.

Recording artist FKA twigs also makes her feature debut in the project, playing a young woman who befriends Otis.

Following its Sundance debut, Honey Boy will next screen as part of the Toronto International Film Festival, where it will play among the Special Presentations section alongside Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, Renee Zellweger’s Judy, and Adam Sandler’s Uncut Gems — all titles vying for awards attention in the crowded Oscar race ahead.

Amazon will release Honey Boy on Nov. 8. Watch the new trailer above.

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  • 11/08/19
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  • Alma Har'el
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