You probably are already vaguely aware of Honey Boy, even if the title doesn't quite ring a bell. Written by Shia LaBeouf, the loose biopic focuses on the actor's own relationship with his dad, Jeffrey LaBeouf, during his tumultuous early career in Hollywood.
In other words, it's the one where LaBeouf plays his dad.
Directed by Alma Har'el, the film is one of the most anticipated of the year, having garnered mass critical praise at Sundance in January. FKA Twigs, whom LaBeouf was rumoured to have dated, makes her feature film debut alongside A Quiet Place breakout Noah Jupe, and Lucas Hedges, who play the younger and older versions of Otis Lort, the fictionalized version of Shia himself. Natasha Lyonne also stars, as Otis' mom.
In the trailer, released today, we get our first glimpse of LaBeouf as his dad, an ex-rodeo clown and former felon committed to making his son into the star he knows he can be.
"I pump you full of strength," LaBeouf, playing Jeffrey LaBeouf counterpart James, tells Jupe's Otis in the trailer. "Because we're on a team, and I know you got what it takes."
Those uplifting words, however, conceal a much darker undercurrent. Throughout the trailer, we get a sense that the frenetic energy with which James is pushing Otis forward might threaten to throw him over the edge. As the action progresses, and Otis grows up into the version played by Hedges, he must start to grapple not just with complicated and fraught memories of his father, but his own inner demons. In that sense, Honey Boy promises to be a chaotic, cathartic memoir of a movie.
The title is lifted from one of LaBeouf's real memories of his dad. While filming The Christmas Path in 1998, he reportedly asked Jeffrey to help him through a fraught scene by standing on the dolly behind the camera.
"Right before we filmed, I looked at him and my dad mouthed, 'You can do it, honey boy,'" he told Interview magazine in 2014.
In that same interview, he revealed: "My greatest and my worst memories are with my father, all my major trauma and major celebration came from him."
So, when can you expect to witness this blessed piece of meta pop culture? Honey Boy hits theaters on November 8. Mark your calendars!
Watch the full trailer below: