Shia LaBeouf opens up on Twitter over ‘Orphans’ exit

It could be called l’affaire LaBeouf given the strange circumstances surrounding Shia LaBeouf’s hasty exit this week from the Broadway revival of “Orphans.”

The 26-year-old actor, who has starred in the “Transformers” movies and the last “Indiana Jones” sequel, was in rehearsals for “Orphans” in New York when producers announced Wednesday that he was leaving the play due to “creative differences.”

The same day, LaBeouf broke with the rigid protocols of Broadway spin control by posting email correspondences on his Twitter account (@thecampaignbook) revealing that he had apparently clashed with costar Alec Baldwin during the rehearsal process.


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In one rambling email that LaBeouf sent to members of the production, he wrote, “Alec, Im sorry for my part of a dis-agreeable [sic] situation.”

LaBeouf also tweeted an email apparently sent by the play’s Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan, which appeared to confirm the feud between the two actors.

“You’re one hell of an actor,” Sullivan wrote to LaBeouf. “Alec is who he is. you are who you are. you two are incompatible. i should have known it.”

Reached by phone in New York, Sullivan declined to comment on LaBeouf or the production. “It’s a hornet’s nest right now,” he said.

Producer Frederick Zollo didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for LaBeouf said she had no comment.

Ben Foster has been tapped to replace LaBeouf in the play and is expected to join rehearsals Friday. The play, written by Lyle Kessler, is still scheduled to open April 7 at the Schoenfeld Theatre in New York.

“Orphans” tells the story of two brothers (LaBeouf and British actor Tom Sturridge) who plot to kidnap a wealthy older man, played by Baldwin.

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On Twitter, LaBeouf also posted an email that appears to be from Baldwin. In the email, which is dated Wednesday, Baldwin tells his former costar: “I’ve been through this before. It’s been a while and perhaps some of the particulars are different.”

“I don’t have an unkind word to say about you,” Baldwin wrote. “You have my word.”

A spokeswoman for “Orphans” said Baldwin was unavailable for comment. The “30 Rock” actor is a New York theater veteran who has starred in many stage productions.

“Orphans” was to be LaBeouf’s Broadway debut. His public airing of differences is rare in the New York theater world where publicity firms work diligently to conceal backstage drama from the media.

In the past, LaBeouf hasn’t been shy about expressing himself to the press. He openly criticized the fourth “Indiana Jones” movie, in which he starred, at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

Last year, the actor said that he was swearing off blockbuster movies in favor of independent projects. He recently filmed a part for Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac,” which is expected to be released later this year.

On Thursday, the actor expressed on Twitter his support for Foster in the Broadway play: “BEN FOSTER IS A BEAST. HE WILL KILL IT.”

Times staff writer Rene Lynch contributed to this report.


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