Noah Jupe is a name you need to remember. The 14-year-old plays Otis, a young version of Shia LaBeouf, 33, in the film Honey Boy. The critically-acclaimed movie, which is already getting major Oscar buzz, was written by Shia and is a semi-autobiographical look back at his life so far and his complicated relationship with his father. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the breakout star at the 2019 Gotham Awards on Dec. 2 about what it was like meeting Shia for the first time.
“The first time I met him it was an audition,” Noah told HollywoodLife. “And I went in, I was walking through, and he was like practicing lines by the truck. I was about to go in and kind of do the audition, but instead, he stopped me and he was like, ‘Hey, you want to run lines?’ And I was like, ‘Okay.’ He took his cap off his head and put it on my head. You know, it felt like he would pass the baton. From that moment on, he is my best friend and will be forever and I absolutely love him. I’m so glad that this story is out there because it needs to be told. I’m just in awe of how he’s turned his pain and transformed it into beauty and art.”
Shia stars alongside Noah in Honey Boy and plays a version of his own father, Jeffrey. Noah said that being able to help tell Shia’s story has meant “everything” to him. “He told me a lot about his life, and obviously, I was technically living his life hypothetically for a certain amount of time,” Noah continued. “Just to know that it was very necessary to him at that moment, and it almost felt like I was helping him get through his troubles and his past and kind of come out the other side and turn it into a positive story and a love story. I was just extremely grateful to be a part of that.”
Honey Boy follows Otis as he attempts to reconcile with his father after a turbulent childhood. Shia got his start on the Disney Channel show Even Stevens and eventually went on to be a global superstar playing Sam Witwicky in the Transformers movies. The film explores Shia’s early days as a popular child actor, his ascent to superstardom, his descent to rock bottom, and his recovery. Honey Boy, directed by Alma Har’el, is an eye-opening and therapeutic exploration of one of Hollywood’s most talented and enigmatic stars. The film, which also stars Lucas Hedges as the older version of Otis, is in theaters now and has been nominated for 4 Film Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Supporting Male nods for both Noah and Shia.