Shia LaBeouf will not make his Broadway debut in the play "Orphans" after all and has exited the production due to "creative differences," organizers say.
The 26-year-old actor, known for his roles in the "Transformers" films and movies such as "Lawless," and actor Tom Sturridge had been cast as orphaned brothers Treat, a thief, and Phillip. They become involved in a kidnapping of a rich older man, Harold, played by Alec Baldwin. The play is due to open in previews on March 19 and open officially on April 7.
The New York Times reported that the producers had decided to replace LaBeouf and had made their decision on Tuesday, more than a week after rehearsals began. The newspaper quoted two theatre executives as saying that Sullivan "had become worried about LaBeouf and his performance choices in the emotionally volatile and ultimately tragic role."
"Due to creative differences, the producers of 'Orphans' and Shia LaBeouf will be parting ways and he will not be continuing with the production," a spokesperson for the production told the New York Times in a statement.
LaBeouf Tweeted a link to the article on February 20. His replacement has not been announced.
For the past two days, he has also been posting screenshots of email exchanges between him and director Daniel Sullivan, playwright Lyle Kessler, producer Fred Zollo, as well as his co-stars. The New York Times quoted reps for LaBeouf and the production as saying the emails were authentic.
One letter, dated February 19, was sent to Baldwin's production company, El Dorado Pictures, with the subject line "Apology."
LaBeouf referenced his father, who he called an "[expletive] human" who taught him to "be a man" and told Baldwin: "A man can apologize, even if sometimes it's just to put an end to the bickering. Alec, Im sorry for my part of a dis-agreeable situation. (sic)" The actor forwarded that message to the play officials and Sturridge.
UPDATE: As pointed out by Gawker, it appears LaBeouf quoted from Tom Chiarella's 2009 Esquire magazine article "How To Be A Man."
"What can I say? Am I outraged? Of course not," the writer said in a new post published on February 21. "It actually makes me happy that my words were some succor to the kid, that he found them wise enough (or high enough on the Google search, anyway) to foist them off as his own."
LaBeouf has not responded to his remarks.
The actor had also posted a picture of an email dated February 20, from Baldwin's production company, in which he said, "I've been through this before ... I don't have an unkind word to say about you." Baldwin's spokesperson declined to comment.
"Same," LaBeouf replied. "Be well. Good luck in the play. You'll be great."
Another email screenshot posted by LeBeouf quoted Sullivan, who called him "one hell of an actor" and said: "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 theater belongs not to the great but to the brash," LaBeouf said on his Twitter page on Thursday, February 21. "Acting is not for gentlemen, or bureaucratic-academics. what they do is antiart. Actors used to be buried with a stake through the heart. those peoples performances so troubled on-lookers that they feared their ghosts."
"Those actors moved the audience not such that they were admitted to graduate school, or recieved a complimentary review ? but such that the audience feared for their soul. now that seems to me something to aim for (sic)," he continued. "invent nothing, deny nothing, speak up, stand up, stay out of school."