Coppola’s casting continues a long-standing trend of problematic actors finding lucrative work after horrific allegations — following in the footsteps of James Franco, Jared Leto, Ezra Miller, and more
After recently wrapping up his Italian-German biopic Padre Pio, controversial actor Shia Labeouf has
found himself cast in director Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming passion project, Megalopolis.
LaBeouf, 36, is currently awaiting trial after being sued by his former partner, musician FKA Twigs,
for “relentless abuse” including allegations of sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional
A high-concept project that Coppola had worked on since his heydays in the 1980s, Megalopolis is a
sci-fi drama that explores the vision of a New York City brought to ruins after a ‘mega-disaster’,
following which a radical architect embarks on a mission to build a utopia in its place.
Seemingly inspired by 1927’s brilliant Metropolis by Fritz Lang, Coppola originally bided his time until
the early 2000s before moving the film into production — only for the 9/11 attacks to take place.
These effectively put a halt to the idea of filming a disaster film in New York City… until 20 years
later, it seems — with Coppola putting in over $100 million of his own money into making this
passion project a reality.
This Wednesday, it was announced that LaBeouf was joining the cast, alongside newly announced
co-stars Jason Schwartzman, Talia Shire, Grace Vanderwaal, Kathryn Hunter, and James Remar.
Adam Driver, Forest Whitaker, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, and Aubrey Plaza
round out the cast — offering one of Coppola’s most exciting projects yet.
Despite the excitement of seeing an iconic director pull off his most personal project yet, Coppola
was criticized on Twitter for choosing to work with LaBeouf, who has a long string of troubling
behavior in his past.
Most immediate are allegations levied against him by his ex, Tahliah Barnett, better known as FKA
Twigs. The pair dated from 2018 to 2019, after meeting on the sets of Honey Boy. In December 2020, she filed a still-ongoing lawsuit against the actor, accusing him of sexual battery, assault, and
infliction of emotional distress during their relationship.
LaBeouf’s long list of inappropriate behaviour goes all the way back to the early 2010s — has been
accused of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, assaults in bars, criminal trespass… like we said,
In the meantime, it seemed that LaBeouf’s allegations went against filmmaker Olivia Wilde, who
fired him from her upcoming drama Don’t Worry Darling in order to create a “safe, trusting”
the environment on set. LaBeouf, who was subsequently replaced by Harry Styles, went on to claim that
he left on his own terms, including texts and video footage that suggested Wilde was trying to retain
him on the film.
LaBeouf addressed these, and many other allegations in a recent podcast with fellow actor Jon
Bernthal. “I hurt that woman and in the process of doing that, I hurt many other people, and many
other people before that woman. I was a pleasure-seeking, selfish, self-centered, dishonest,
inconsiderate, fearful human being,” he said.
“When I think about what my life has become and what it is now, like what my purpose is now… I
need to be useful. And when I look at this #MeToo environment, there`s not a whole lot of dudes
that are taking accountability.” The actor later said he has a “long list of people that I need to make
Disturbingly, along with LaBeouf himself, it seems that there’s some legitimacy to online claims that
Coppola — the man behind the Godfather films — supports perpetrators of sexual and physical
violence. Notably, Coppola has funded, supported, and studio-campaigned in favor of Victor Salva
— a horror film director famous for the Jeepers Creepers series. Salva, who served 15 months in
prison in the 1980s after raping a 12-year-old boy, went on to make several more films and was
largely supported by Coppola during this post-incarceration phase.
According to Variety, filming for Megalopolis began earlier this August, and will go on till
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