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As Shia LaBeouf grows up,critical acclaim grows stronger
He has grown up in the movies and on TV. So naturally Shia LaBeouf's conversation is littered with movie references.
Especially when he's talking about his latest, Disturbia, a claustrophobic thriller about a teenager who is under house arrest and thinks his secretive neighbor might be a serial killer.
"One of my favorite movies is Rear Window," he says, referring to the Alfred Hitchcock classic of 1954, the obvious inspiration for Disturbia. "Being in the Jimmy Stewart seat was fun. It's a movie where you don't have to have anybody saying anything to know what's going on. He was confined to a wheelchair, I was under house arrest. Otherwise, same story."
Disturbia -- the title is a play on the strange goings-on in suburbia -- plays around with privacy and the loss of it, of peeking in on people via the Internet and watching them on ever-tinier camcorders.
"Look at movies like The Conversation , all about wiretaps, listening in on phone calls, privacy invaded," LaBeouf says. "And that was, what, 30 years ago? The technology makes that sort of thing even more invasive now.
"Our movie is like Straw Dogs , or Say Anything . To me, it's a genre-jumper. It's all over the place -- half comedy, half romance, half thriller, it's like 14 halves of a movie. I hope people laugh, cry and scream in the same film."
LaBeouf's performance as "Everydude" (The Hollywood Reporter) in the film is winning early praise. The ShoWest convention of the National Association of Theater Owners named him this year's "star of tomorrow."
We would expect no less. Chazz Palminteri, who did father-son scenes with LaBeouf in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, calls him "the best young-actor I've ever worked with. Experienced way beyond his years." Gregg Kilday of The Hollywood Reporter notes that he is "poised to make his mark on the summer box office," with appearances in Surf's Up and Transformers following his star-turn in Disturbia.
Memorable as a kid golfer facing down the world's best in 2005's The Greatest Game Ever Played, edgy-funny as a campaign worker who discovers drugs in last year's Bobby, LaBeouf has spent a third of his life in front of the camera. He starred in the award-winning children's series, Even Stevens, made the move to films with Holes (2003), and is passing out of adolescence on screen with such movies as A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Disturbia.
College? Maybe later. He was accepted at Yale but chose not to go.
"Right now, I'm getting the kind of education you don't get at school."
Even though he turns 21 in June, he has one last blast from his kiddie past to take care of. Transformers, the big-screen, live-action version of the hit cartoon series of the late '80s and early '90s, is due out this summer. The buzz, from fans, is almost deafening. And LaBeouf is in it.
"It was me, and Yogi Bear, and Transformers," he says. "That's me growing up. To me, it's the most plausible of all the superhero stories. The movie will be that way, too.
"It's not about some dude in a cape or a spider costume. It's very tangible, this idea that machines that take over.
"We're using robots in war, already. These things already exist. I totally believe this could happen.
"I can promise you, it'll be the sickest action movie you'll see this year."