Back in April 2020, it was announced that LaBeouf would be starring opposite of Florence Pugh in Wilde's highly-anticipated psychological thriller. But, by that December, E! News learned the Transformers alum had been fired from the project, with Harry Styles replacing him in the role of Jack.
Now, Wilde spoke out for the first time about her decision to let LaBeouf go. "I say this as someone who is such an admirer of his work," she said in a recent interview with Variety. "His process was not conducive to the ethos that I demand in my productions. He has a process that, in some ways, seems to require a combative energy, and I don't personally believe that is conducive to the best performances."
Explaining that she valued a "safe, trusting environment," the director continued, "Ultimately, my responsibility is to the production and to the cast to protect them. That was my job."
Shortly after his exit, LaBeouf was accused of "relentless abuse" and sexual battery in a lawsuit filed by his ex-girlfriend, musician FKA twigs. He later denied the allegations in a 2021 court filing obtained by E! News, saying that FKA twigs "has not suffered any injury or damage as a result of [his] actions."
Addressing the controversy surrounding LaBeouf's life, Wilde told Variety, "A lot came to light after this happened that really troubled me, in terms of his behavior."
"I find myself just really wishing him health and evolution because I believe in restorative justice. But for our film, what we really needed was an energy that was incredibly supportive," she said. "Particularly with a movie like this, I knew that I was going to be asking Florence to be in very vulnerable situations, and my priority was making her feel safe and making her feel supported."
E! News reached out to LaBeouf's rep for comment but did not hear back.