Abel Ferrara says casting Shia LaBeouf as Padre Pio, the Italian monk who gained rock-star standing among the many Catholic devoted, coincided with some extent within the actor’s life “the place he linked very deeply with Pio’s journey within the movie.”

“Padre Pio,” which is amongst titles set to launch subsequent week from the Venice Movie Competition’s independently run Giornate Degli Autori, will see LaBeouf again on the massive display screen after the actor — greatest recognized for his roles within the Transformers and Indiana Jones franchises — took a break from performing in 2020 following allegations made by his ex-girlfriend Tahliah Debrett Barnett. The singer, referred to as FKA twigs, sued LaBeouf for sexual battery and emotional misery.

LaBeouf subsequently took a break from performing in order that he might solely deal with his restoration.

Padre Pio, who was born Francesco Forgione in southern Italy within the late nineteenth century, elicited each devotion and controversy all through his life. He rose to fame within the Catholic world for exhibiting stigmata — crucifixion wounds comparable to these on the physique of Jesus Christ — earlier than changing into an emblem of hope for southern Italians in the course of the nation’s turbulent interval between the 2 world wars. He died in 1968 on the age of 81, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1999, after which canonized in 2002.

“He’s an iconic determine,” says Ferrara. “He’s on the again of each truck. He’s the saint of each drug supplier in Naples.”

The “Dangerous Lieutenant” director additionally factors out that “as an iconic determine, Pio is like the choice Jesus, in a manner.”

Ferrara, who lives and works in Italy, recollects it was Willem Dafoe who first instructed that he ought to attain out to LaBeouf for the position. After just a few Zoom calls, LaBeouf was on board, and able to totally immerse himself within the position.

“He’s the type of actor that the following minute he jumps in his choose up truck and he’s driving to a monastery in California,” says Ferrara.

The helmer explains that when LaBeouf arrived at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, he was wearing a gown. Then, he went to the monastery in southern Italy the place the movie was shot and slept in a mattress that Padre Pio slept in. Ferrara factors out that the movie is supported by the Padre Pio brotherhood and that the monks within the movie are actual.

“He’s bringing his personal life to it. You’re seeing an individual going by a really related expertise. It’s not nearly sporting robes and performing actions,” Ferrara notes.

“When the actor resides a parallel-type journey, that’s while you get such a strong efficiency.”

LaBeouf might be attending the Venice world premiere of “Padre Pio,” however won’t be doing press.

“Padre Pio” is produced by Diana Phillips, Philipp Kreuzer, Maurizio Antonini and Cristian Mercuri of Capstone, which is dealing with world gross sales.

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