Drama Surrounding Shia LaBeouf's Departure from Broadway's Orphans Continues to Unfold Via Twitter

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21 Feb 2013

Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf

The drama surrounding the sudden departure of film star Shia LaBeouf from the Broadway debut of Lyle Kessler's Orphans continues to unfold.

On Feb. 20 producers of the three-person play announced that the "Transformers" star was leaving the production "due to creative differences." The play, which co-stars Alec Baldwin and Tom Sturridge, is still scheduled to begin previews March 19 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with an official opening scheduled for April 7. Daniel Sullivan directs.

On his Twitter account, actor LaBeouf posted several e-mails he received or sent to cast and creative team members, including one he received Feb. 19 from director Sullivan, which reads, "I'm too old for disagreeable situations. 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. this one will haunt me. you tried to warn me. you said you were a different breed. I didn't get it. Dan"

Another e-mail, from "AB," states, "SL I've been through this before. It's been a while. And perhaps some of the particulars are different. But it comes down to the fact that what we all do now is critical. Perhaps especially for you. 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. AB"

LaBeouf responded, "same. be well. good luck on the play. you'll be great."



Two other emails, from co-star Sturridge and fight director Rick Sordelet, have also now been posted on LaBeouf's Twitter account.

Co-star Sturridge wrote Feb. 20, "Hey, are you still here? I don't really know what to write. I went in this afternoon and they were all there…producers etc. I said my piece but they didn't really listen. I don't understand what has happened here. Maybe you have had a more enlightening conversation with someone by now. All I can say is that it was truly an honor to work with you even if it was only for a few days. I was stunned by the work you were doing, the performance you were giving. I think you lifted the play to a place higher than maybe it even deserved to be. I hope this isn't the last time we work together and I especially hope it isn't the last time we see each other. Hope you're ok brother. T"

Sordelet, in an email dated Feb. 21, wrote, "Dear Shia, So sorry things went down like they did. It's a pity Broadway will not get to see your Treat. It was obvious you were going to turn in a fantastic performance. But you are a divinely guided young man and it will all become clear in a short time.… Christian and I are very impressed with your work ethic and respect for the craft. It must have been difficult for others in the room to be schooled by someone [whose] raw talent and enthusiasm out matched theirs. Good luck and love to you, Rick Sordelet."

In the play, according to press notes, "two orphaned brothers are living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house. Treat, the eldest, supports his damaged younger sibling Phillip (Sturridge) by petty thievery, and makes the house a virtual prison for the seemingly simple-minded Phillip. One night he kidnaps a rich older man, Harold (Baldwin), who turns out to have his own motives and becomes the father figure the boys have always yearned for."

Orphans premiered in 1983 at The Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles where it won the Drama-Logue Award. Following its 1985 engagement at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, the play had a successful run at New York’s Westside Arts Theatre and was subsequently produced in London. A film version was also produced.

Sturridge's films include "Being Julia," "Vanity Fair," "On the Road," "Like Minds," "The Boat That Rocked," "Junkhearts" and the forthcoming "Effie" and Terrence Malick's new feature. He made his theatre debut in Simon Stephens' Punk Rock at the Lyric Hammersmith in London and at the Manchester Royal Exchange. He subsequently received the Critics' Circle Best Newcomer Award in recognition of his leading performance, along with Best Newcomer at the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards. He was also nominated for the Milton Schulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and London Newcomer of the Year at the Whatsonstage Awards. He has since played leading roles at London's Royal Court Theatre, in Simon Stephens' play Wastwater and most recently in Polly Stenham's new play No Quarter.

LaBeouf was most recently seen in John Hillcoat’s crime drama, "Lawless," alongside Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska. He will be seen next in Robert Redford’s "The Company You Keep," a thriller co-starring Redford, Julie Christie, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon and Chris Cooper. He also stars in "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman" opposite Evan Rachel Wood and Melissa Leo.

Baldwin was nominated for a Tony Award in 1992 for his performance in A Streetcar Named Desire. He has also been seen on Broadway in Loot, Serious Money and Twentieth Century. Baldwin received an Academy Award nomination for "The Cooler" and won two Emmy Awards for his work on NBC's "30 Rock." He appeared in the film adaptation of Rock of Ages.

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