It’s not every day you can look out your window and see Shia LaBeouf making out with a girl on the front lawn.
But that’s the story Jeff Graves and his family can tell after giving the OK for LaBeouf and a film crew to shoot in their Mission Hills front yard Tuesday.
The film is “American Honey,” a low-budget feature from British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, who also wrote the screenplay.
According to Variety, the story concerns “a runaway teenager who’s selling magazine subscriptions around the U.S. and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard-partying, law-bending and young love.”
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Graves said a location scout knocked on his door around noon Tuesday to inquire about filming in the front yard. The crew liked the big trees and expansive lawns in the neighborhood near Mission Road.
“I’m like, really?” Graves recalled. “I hadn’t seen a Shia LaBeouf movie in years. But the day before, I saw his movie ‘Lawless’ on Netflix. … And now he’s in my front yard.”
The crew had filmed a scene up the street — LaBeouf (in a blue-and-white plaid shirt) and an actress trying to sell magazines to someone in a car. Then the young woman takes off on foot, LaBeouf’s character runs after her and tackles her in Graves’ yard, and the two start rolling around and making out.
And then the sprinklers come on.
“We really didn’t see much of it,” Graves said. “They didn’t want people out and about because they were trying to shoot their film.”
The crew brought sprinklers and hoses with them, although Graves offered his own as well. The family was paid a $100 location fee, maybe for “water use,” Graves joked.
He guessed that the cast and crew on his block numbered around 20. They traveled in minivans. Also in the caravan was a truck with a portable toilet in the back.
It’s believed the actors and crew have been in Kansas City for more than a week. Graves said a crew member told him they were about finished filming here, although Tuesday night they were still hoping to shoot a scene at Meyer Circle on Ward Parkway.
They’re thought to be headed to Omaha, Neb., next.
Kansas City film commissioner Stephane Scupham said she couldn’t comment on the production. But the film office had announced a local casting call for “American Honey” in April.
Earlier this month the “Honey” company spent time shooting in Muskogee, Okla., where LaBeouf indulged some fans by taking selfies with them, including at a Renaissance fair. The Tulsa World talked to the film’s location manager, who said the production was trying to keep a low profile. The director is shooting the film documentary style as much as possible.
Arnold won an Oscar for her 2003 short film “Wasp.” Her first two features, “Red Road” (2006) and “Fish Tank” (2009), won BAFTAs (the British Oscar) and the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
As for LaBeouf, who turns 29 in June, he’s the quirky/odd/often-in-trouble actor who was photographed wearing a paper bag over his head (on which was printed “I Am Not Famous Anymore”) at the Berlin premiere of his flick “Nymphomaniac” last year. He was arrested last June for disrupting a Broadway show by shouting obscenities. In 2013 he admitted plagiarizing a short film he made. But he earned raves last fall for playing a sullen soldier in Brad Pitt’s World War II saga “Fury.”