Shia LaBeouf, the movie star (“Transformers”) who was to make his Broadway debut, has left Orphans, the three-character play co- starring Alec Baldwin and Tom Sturridge which was to start previews on March 19 and open April 7 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.
Update February 21: Ben Foster will replace Shia LaBeouf in the role of Treat. Foster, 32, best-known (at least by me) as Claire’s sexually-ambiguous classmate and boyfriend Russell in “Six Feet Under,” will be making his Broadway debut. He reportedly has never done a professional stage play.
The show’s official announcement: “Due to creative differences, the producers of Orphans and Shia LaBeouf will be parting ways, and he will not be continuing with the production. An announcement on the replacement for the role of ‘Treat’ will be made shortly.”
LaBeouf, 26, was to star as the older of two brothers who kidnaps an older man (Alec Baldwin). “Orphans,” by Lyle Kessler, debuted in 1983 and was made into a movie in 1987 starring Albert Finney, Matthew Modine and Kevin Anderson.
There are more questions here than answers yet. Did he quit? Was he fired? Was it mutual? Was it “amicable”? (not possible) What are “creative differences” and are they limited only to performers?
Shia LaBeouf on his official Twitter account,
@thecampaignbook, more or less explains what the problem was. He did not get along with Alec Baldwin.
This is most obvious from the e-mail he reproduces from “Dan” –obviously Orphans director Daniel Sullivan addressed to LaBeouf:
“I’m too old for disagreeable situations. You’re one hell of a great actor. Alec is who he is. You are who you are. You two are incompatible. I should have known it.
This one will haunt me. You tried to warn me. You said you were a different breed. I didn’t get it.”
The other is LaBeouf’s e-mail to Alec Baldwin, which is less direct but eventually gets to the point (I’ve left out a lot in the middle):
“My Dad was a drug dealer. He was a shit human. But he was a man.He taught me how to be a man. What I know of a men Alec is—
A man is good at his job. Not his work, not his avocation, not his hobby. Not his career. Hs job.
A man can look you up and down and figure some things out. Before you say a word, he makes you. From your suitcase, from your watch, your posture.
A man owns up. That’s why Mark McGwire is not a man. A man grasps his mistakes. He lays claim to who he is, and what he was, whether he likes them or not.
…He can apologize, even if it’s sometimes just to put an end to the bickering.
Alec, I’m sorry for my part of a dis-agreeable situation.”
If I’ve learned anything from this Orphans dust-up, it’s to never send an email to Shia Labeouf.
— David Lindsay-Abaire (@lindsayabaire) February 21, 2013