The semi-autobiographical critical gem film that was written by Shia LaBeouf and directed by Alma Har’el—has acquired an inspiring wave of awards buzz as we move into the final moments of 2019. Tuesday, LaBeouf stopped by Ellen DeGeneres’ show to talk about the film’s origins and to take part in a charity-boosting follow-up to his recent mastery of Hot Ones.
“It took me maybe about two months to get it all sorted,” LaBeouf said when he asked about the writing process. “I wrote the first chunk—I was in this head camp that they sent me to—and I wrote the first chunk and then when I got home, I hadn’t seen my dad in seven years. Then my director Alma, who’s a wizard, she’s like ‘You need to go see your dad.’ So I went and saw my dad, recorded that, came home, had the ending, wrestled it down, and that was the process.”
When asked to clarify what he meant by “head camp,” LaBeouf flashed back to his 2017 arrest.
“Head camp is where the court sends you when the other option is seven years in jail, pretty much,” he said. “I got arrested in Georgia for terrorizing a police officer—which is a felony charge—and they said ‘You know, you got a problem’ and then they sent me to this place. They said ‘You got PTSD, we got a solution.’ We started doing this stuff called exposure therapy and through that process of recording all these conversations is where the movie came from.”
While they were discussing, DeGeneres—whose previous charity challenge to LaBeouf resulted in the rocking of some objectively awesome pink leggings—told the actor/writer/performance artist that she’d give $10,000 to a charity of his choice if he downed a ghost pepper.
LaBeouf, who selected his Slauson Rec. Theater School program as the donation recipient, wasted no time to oblige.
“That pepper’s gone,” he said. “Just say bye-bye, pepper. Yeah, he’s outta here. Bye-bye, pepper. That’s a cute little pepper right there. That’s a cutie pie. Probably take a minute to kick in, probably. Be careful I don’t wanna throw up on your knee.”
Though, he didn’t throw up on DeGeneres’ knee, the pepper did indeed kick in a later during a round of Burning Questions. “This pepper is so real,” he said amidst answering a number of questions which resulted in the discussion of spider fears, his favorite entry in the profanity catalog, that cannibal meme, Raging Bull, among others.