Shia LaBeouf quits Broadway play Orphans over creative differences with Alec Baldwin
Shia LaBeouf quits Broadway play after a week of rehearsals? We can’t say we’re too surprised. The actor was to play Treat in a revival of Lyle Kessler’s 1983 play Orphans, however, it appears he ran into difficulties with co-star Alec Baldwin, who himself has had a rough week after being accused of racist slurs by the New York Post. It’s bad news for LaBeouf fans who had already snapped up tickets for the Transformers star’s Broadway debut when they were made available two days ago, though the nature of his exit looks complex.
On Wednesday, LaBeouf – who allegedly dropped acid for his turn in The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman - took to Twitter to post a series of emails to and from members of the creative team. One from the director Daniel Sullivan appears to hint at artistic tensions between LaBeouf and Baldwin, both hot-headed yet talented performers. “I'm too old for disagreeable situations,” Sullivan wrote, “You're one hell of a great actor. Alec is who he is. You are who you are. You two are incompatible. I should have known it.” Sullivan appears to suggest Shia tried to dissuade him from putting him in the production, saying, “This one will haunt me. You tried to warn me. You said you were a different breed. I didn't get it.”
In an email to both Baldwin and Sullivan, LaBeouf apologizes for his role in the situation, saying, “A man can tell you that he was wrong. That he did wrong. That he planned to. He can tell you when he is lost. He can apologise, even if it's just to put an end to the bickering.” The correspondence paints a picture of a tense and frosty atmosphere on the set of the play, which is set to open at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in the spring. The production’s official website still features a banner with Baldwin, LaBeouf and the British actor Tom Sturridge.
The response from Alec Baldwin takes a philosophical view of LaBeouf’s departure. He writes, “When the change comes, how do we handle it, whether it be good or bad? What do we learn? I don't have an unkind word to say about you. You have my word.”
Strangely, LaBeouf also posted a Vimeo of his audition for the play, which you can watch below: