News & Opinion | March 14, 2018 5:00 am

Shia LaBeouf: ‘I’m a Buffoon. My Public Outbursts Are Failures.’

LaBeouf confronts his demons in new Esquire cover story.

Actor Shia LaBeouf attends "The Company You Keep" Premiere at the 69th Venice Film Festival at the Palazzo del Cinema on September 6, 2012 in Venice, Italy.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Actor Shia LaBeouf attends "The Company You Keep" Premiere at the 69th Venice Film Festival at the Palazzo del Cinema on September 6, 2012 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
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A child actor-turned-tabloid, Shia LaBeouf has made a truckload of very public mistakes over the last several years, and he’s finally ready to own up to them. Speaking to Esquire about Borg vs. McEnroe, his forthcoming film out April 13 in which he portrays the hot-headed tennis star, he acknowledges some of his past transgressions and talks about what he’s doing to make himself better.

On his anger:

“McEnroe was a master at his rage,” he says. “I’m a buffoon. My public outbursts are failures. They’re not strategic. They’re a struggling motherf-cker showing his a— in front of the world.”

On taking responsibility for failure:

“I’ve got to look at my failures in the face for a while,” he says. “I need to take ownership of my shit and clean up my side of the street a bit before I can go out there and work again, so I’m trying to stay creative and learn from my mistakes. I’ve been falling forward for a long time. Most of my life. The truth is, in my desperation, I lost the plot.”

On addressing his childhood traumas in therapy, including his father’s alcoholism, and overhearing the rape of his mother:

“You keep talking about it. You keep bringing it up, acting it out, thinking about its smell. Every which way you can get to it. And a lot of my shit has to do with my relationship with my dad,” he said. “That dude is my gasoline.”

On being arrested in Savannah, Georgia for public intoxication, and berating the officers with racially-charged language.

“What went on in Georgia was mortifying. White privilege and desperation and disaster… It came from a place of self-centered delusion… It was me trying to absolve myself of guilt for getting arrested.” And finally, “I f-cked up.”