Shia LaBeouf’s says co-star Zachary Gottsagen gave him a glimpse of God

Actor Shia LaBeouf attends a hearing at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York July 24, 2014.
Actor Shia LaBeouf attends a hearing at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York July 24, 2014. | REUTERS/Jefferson Siegel/Pool

The trailer for Shia LaBeouf's upcoming film “The Peanut Butter Falcon” was released this week and the actor said his co-star, newcomer Zachary Gottsagen, who has high-functioning Down syndrome, showed him the true love of God.

The “Mark Twain” like film tells the story of two friends who embark on an unlikely journey together. “After running away from a residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler, a man who has Down syndrome befriends an outlaw who becomes his coach and ally,” the film's synopsis reads. 

While on location for the film, LaBeouf was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. At the police station, the “Transformers” actor was filmed making racist remarks to the police officers, which he described as “mortifying” and has since apologized for. 

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It was LaBeouf's arrest that reportedly prompted Gottsagen to confront the actor with some truths that he holds to this day. 

“You’re already famous. This is my chance. And you’re ruining it,” LaBeouf told Esquire magazine in a previous interview. 

“To hear him say that he was disappointed in me probably changed the course of my life … Zack can’t not shoot straight, and bless him for it, ’cause in that moment, I needed a straight shooter who I couldn’t argue with,” he admitted.

The conversation didn't end there and the passionate new actor took LeBeouf’s troubling behavior as an opportunity to share God with the religious skeptic. 

“We were getting ready to do a scene and Zack said, ‘Do you believe in God?’ And I thought, No f------ way are you about to explain God to me, Zack.’ LaBeouf tried to keep it together as his voice jumped an octave. ‘Zack said, ‘Even if He’s not real, what does it hurt?’” LaBeouf continued. 

He added, “I don’t believe in God. But did I see God? Did I hear God? Through Zack, yeah. He met me with love, and at the time, love was truth, and he didn’t pull punches. And I’m grateful, not even on some cheeseball s--- trying to sell a movie. In real life. That motherf----- is magical.”

LeBeouf, who claims to not believe in God, said in a 2014 interview with Interview Magazine that he became a “Christian” while filming the movie “Fury” alongside Brad Pitt and David Ayer.

“I found God doing 'Fury'. I became a Christian man, and not in a f---ing bullshit way—in a very real way. I could have just said the prayers that were on the page. But it was a real thing that really saved me. And you can’t identify unless you’re really going through it. It’s a full-blown exchange of heart, a surrender of control.”

 "The Peanut Butter Falcon” also features actors Dakota Johnson, Jon Bernthal, Thomas Hayden Church, Bruce Dern and John Hawkes. The movie was created specifically for Gottsagen after writer-director duo Tyler Nilson and Michael Shwartz met him at a camp for actors with disabilities.

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