Shia LaBeouf is following up his critically acclaimed performance in Andrea Arnold's American Honey with a Dito Montiel reunion, playing a U.S. Marine returning home from Afghanistan to a post-apocalyptic America in Man Down. The film, penned by Adam G. Simon, had its Los Angeles premiere Wednesday night. LaBeouf popped in for a chat with Entertainment Tonight, detailing his extensive creative process and the film's dedication to realism.
To make a certain pepper-sprayed-in-the-face scene much more believable, LaBeouf actually opted for real pepper spray. "I'm scared I'm not good enough," LaBeouf joked to ET at Wednesday's premiere. "It's like when you go bowling [and] you put up the bumpers. You might be able to hit strike without the bumpers, but why not put the bumpers up?" To keep everyone safe while shooting the scene, LaBeouf had a Marine release the pepper.
"The guy who did it to me, this guy named Nick Jones Jr., who is my heart, he's the Marine I went through this whole thing with," LaBeouf explained. "He knew how to do it in a safe way, so it just seemed like an easier thing than to have to conjure it." Thankfully the scene, which LaBeouf added "wasn't really that crazy," only required two takes. "Every Marine does it," LaBeouf said.
LaBeouf previously described the story of Man Down as a total brain-boggler for filmmakers and audiences alike. "Calling it a war film feels like the wrong thing, too," LaBeouf told Jimmy Kimmel last month, marking his 10th appearance on Kimmel's show. "It's a people film. It's a bit like Memento and Coming Home and it's kind of a mindfuck." Man Down opens Dec. 2.