"When I see someone like Shia LaBeouf with a bag on his head and stuff, my heart goes out to the poor guy. Because I think he's suffering in some way," Mel, 58, told Indiewire, referring to Shia's bizarre red carpet appearance at the February premiere of Nymphomaniac.
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Mel Gibson has said his 'heart goes out' Shia LaBeouf
"Or why would he do that? People are in line to sort of point the finger at him and say that he's this, that, or the other. It's easy to judge. But I'm sure he's going through some kind of personal, very painful, cathartic thing that he has to exorcise and get out there.
"And he'll probably play it out and come back," the actor continued. "He'll be all right. I actually like the kid. I think he's good."
Mel dealt with fallout from his 2006 DUI arrest and the anti-Semitic remarks he allegedly made to the arresting officer. During the interview, he went on to talk about the pitfalls of fame.
Shia LaBeouf pictured in LA this week
"You're a target," he said. "And you have to be really adept at tap dancing and dodging the bullets. And sometimes you get hit."
It is not the first time that Mel has spoken out in support of a struggling star; in 2008 he reached out to spiralling Britney Spears, and went on a holiday with her and their families.
Shia, meanwhile, recently confirmed he is receiving treatment for alcohol addiction following his arrest last month.
Shia LaBeouf made a bizarre appearance on the red carpet in February
The 28-year-old was handcuffed and escorted out of the Studio 54 theatre after causing a disturbance during a performance of Cabaret. He was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment and trespassing.