Shia LaBeouf and Producers of ‘Orphans’ Reach Settlement Over Firing
The story that never stopped giving earlier this year was Shia LaBeouf‘s very public exit from what was intended to be his Broadway debut, Orphans. Though LaBeouf’s removal from the show was officially blamed on “creative differences,” reports of unprofessional behavior during rehearsals arose during the following days and his outspoken co-star Alec Baldwin also cited LaBeouf’s lack of theater experience as an issue. Amid the public spectacle, LaBeouf filed a grievance with Actor’s Equity over the termination.
The New York Times reports that LaBeouf and producers Robert Cole and Frederick Zollo have reached a settlement regarding his exit. They released a joint statement about the settlement, though the terms were not disclosed. In the statement the producers diplomatically noted, “We regret the circumstances that caused Shia’s departure from Orphans. Shia is a gifted actor whose full preparation to undertake the role of Treat demonstrated his respect and devotion to the play. The parties recognize that neither Mr. LaBeouf nor the producers was at fault. We have the utmost respect for Shia and his acting abilities, and would welcome the opportunity to work with him in the future.” Of course, we might want to take that last sentence with a grain of salt considering the reports of LaBeouf’s backstage behavior.
Considering that Orphans closed early after generally negative reviews and disappointing ticket sales (making it a case of when “star casting” didn’t work), it’s not clear if there was any money that could have even been available for the settlement at all. The fact that LaBeouf himself brought tremendous negative media attention to the situation when he made private e-mails between the members of the production public via Twitter could have also affected the settlement terms.
LaBeouf was replaced by Ben Foster and Orphans went on to be nominated for two Tony Awards before its own early exit from Broadway.