“You and I both know the reasons for my exit,” LaBeouf told director Wilde, saying he left the film due to insufficient rehearsal time.
Next to a Variety cover story with Wilde opening on LaBeouf redesign and Harry Styles taking the role, LaBeouf wrote an email to the director of “Booksmart” addressing his “account” of the events. LaBeouf shared the letter, along with text exchanges and a home video sent from Wilde to LaBeouf during production in 2020, with IndieWire. LaBeouf claims he left the film due to insufficient rehearsal time.
“What inspired this email today is your latest Variety story,” LaBeouf wrote in part to Wilde. “I am very honored by your words about my work; thank you, good to read you. I’m a little confused about the story that I was fired, though. You and I know the reasons for my leaving. I stopped your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse. I’ve included as a reminder the screenshots of our text exchange that day, and my text to Tobey [Emmerich].”
LaBeouf added, “I know you’re starting your press for DWD and the news of my firing is attractive bait, because I’m still persona-non-grata and could be for the rest of my life.”
LaBeouf listed his release date as August 17, 2020. The “Honey Boy” actor also shared that he’s now been 627 days sober and felt the need to weigh in on Wilde’s current statements about what happened. passed more than two years ago.
“Firing me never happened, Olivia. And while I fully understand the appeal of pushing this story because of the current social landscape, the social currency that brings it, it’s not the truth,” LaBeouf said. “So I humbly ask, as someone who cares about getting it right, that you correct the narrative as best you can. I hope none of this affects you negatively and your movie succeeds in all the ways you want it to be.
LaBeouf did not respond to IndieWire’s request for additional comment, and representatives for Wilde declined to comment.
LaBeouf attached screenshots of texts purportedly from Wilde at the time of production. Wilde apparently sent this message to LaBeouf the day before his official resignation from production: “Thank you for letting me know about your thought process. I know it’s not fun. It doesn’t feel good to say no to anyone, and I respect your honesty,” Wilde wrote. “I’m honored that you agreed to go with me, to tell a story with you. I’m disgusted because it could have been something special. I want to make it clear how much it means to me that you trust me. It is a gift that I will take with me.
LaBeouf also circulated a video Wilde sent to him while driving a car, saying LaBeouf’s threat to come out could be ‘a bit of a red flag for Miss Flo’, referring to the main star Florence Poug.
“I feel like I’m not ready to let go of this yet, and I too am heartbroken, and I want to figure this out,” Wilde says in the video. “You know, I think that might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo, and I want to know if you’re ready to give it a shot with me, with us. If she really commits, if she puts really his mind and his heart at this point and if you can make peace – and I respect your point of view, I respect his – but if you can do that, what do you think? Hope? Will you let me know?”
In another text message sent between August 16 and August 20, 2020, Wilde texted LaBeouf, “You don’t have to be in my movies, but never doubt me. We pinky promised. It means something in my house.
Wilde recently told Variety that she was still “such an admirer” of LaBeouf’s work but “his process was not conducive to the philosophy that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require combative energy, and I personally don’t think it’s conducive to the best performance.
Wilde continued: “A lot of things came to light after this happened that really troubled me, behavior-wise. For our film, what we really needed was an incredibly supportive energy. Especially with a movie like this, I knew I was going to ask Florence to be in very vulnerable situationsand my priority was making her feel safe and make her feel supported.
She concluded, “I think creating a safe and trusting environment is the best way to get people to do their best. Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and the actors to protect them. It was my job.
Read LaBeouf’s full email to Wilde sent on August 24 after his comments to Variety:
I hope this finds you inspired, determined, accomplished and well. I pray every night for you and your family to have health, happiness and all that God would give me. No kidding, every night before bed.
I have a little girl, Isabel; she is five months old and just beginning to develop the last half of her laughter; it’s incredible. Mia, my wife and I have found each other and are on our way to a healthy family with love and mutual respect.
I’ve embarked on a journey that feels redemptive and righteous (dirty word but appropriate). I write to you now with 627 days of sobriety and a moral compass that never existed before my great humiliation which was the last year and a quarter of my life. I contacted you a few months ago to make amends; & I pray one more day, you may find a space in your heart to forgive me for the failed collaboration we shared.
What inspired this email today is your latest Variety story. I am very honored by your words about my work; thank you, good to read you. I’m a little confused about the story that I was fired, though. You and I know the reasons for my leaving. I stopped your film because your actors and I couldn’t find time to rehearse. I’ve included screenshots of our text exchange that day, and my text to Tobey, as a reminder.
I know that you are starting your press campaign for DWD and that the news of my dismissal is attractive bait, because I am still persona-non-grata and could remain so for the rest of my life. But, speaking of my daughter, I often think of the press articles she will read when she becomes literate. And though I owe and owe for the rest of my life, I only owe for my actions.
My failures with Twigs are fundamental and real, but they are not the narrative that was presented. There is a time and a place to deal with such things, and I try to navigate a nuanced situation with respect for her and the truth, hence my silence. But this situation with your movie and my “firing” will never have a court date to deal with facts. If the lies are repeated enough in public, they become the truth. And so, that makes it all the more difficult for me to get out of the hole that I dug with my behaviors, to be able to provide for my family.
Getting fired never happened, Olivia. And while I completely understand the appeal of pushing this story because of the current social landscape, the social currency that brings. That’s not the truth. So I humbly ask, as someone who cares about getting it right, that you correct the narrative as best you can. I hope none of this affects you negatively and your movie succeeds in all the ways you want it to be.
Every blessing to you,