His off-screen antics very nearly put an end to his career, as filmmakers didn't want him on their sets. He's been arrested multiple times for alcohol-fuelled displays, fired from a Broadway play and accused of plagiarism in his work. So he decided to clean up his act. Now 30 and sober, he  feels like he's getting back on track.

Shia LeBeouf in American HoneyShia LeBeouf in American Honey

His first big move is to star in Andrea Arnold's new movie American Honey, which took Cannes by storm this year. While making the film, Arnold deliberately refused to give LaBeouf anything more than a page of dialogue each morning as they shot the movie on the road over seven weeks.

The film is a loose drama about a hard-partying travelling magazine sales crew, so to prepare for the role LaBeouf joined a real team. "I was the only white dude in that group," he says. "They f**k each other. They rob people. They sell magazines. When I got to Andrea's set and saw what the dynamics were, it made sense to me."

This meant that the film's cast, which is largely made up of non-actors, lived just like a real crew. "We bonded hard," LaBeouf says. "You do whatever is required for it to be true, for it to be honest. I had to run this group, sort of like a pimp."

During production, the cast had adventures both on-camera and off-set. "One of the things we'd do as a group, we'd all go to the f**king tattoo shop," LaBeouf laughs, referring to the 12 tattoos he got while making the movie, including a pair of Missy Elliott portraits, one on each knee. "I don't love Missy Elliott like I wanna get two Missy Elliott tattoos," LaBeouf says. "But you're in a tattoo parlour and, well, peer pressure!"

While the tattoos made it a challenge for director Arnold to maintain continuity on film, a more serious problem was an injury during a scene in which LaBeouf put his head through a glass window. He was briefly hospitalised with stitches in his head and hand, but returned to the set the next day.

And now people are talking about possible awards-season attention. But LaBeouf dismisses that: "Nah, dude, not me! The Oscars are about politics. I've got to earn my way back. I'm not that guy for a long time. For a long, long time! And I'm good with that."

Watch the trailer for American Honey: