People thought I was just another Hilary Duff,” says Shia (pronounced SHY-uh) LaBeouf, 20, whose tween cred was honed on the 2000-03 Disney Channel series EVEN STEVENS (for which he won a Daytime Emmy) and in Disney’s HOLES (2003). He put the mouse behind him with 2003’s THE BATTLE OF SHAKER HEIGHTS, which failed at the box office but was chronicled on HBO’s PROJECT GREENLIGHT. ”It opened doors for me,” says the L.A. native, who was then cast in 2004’s I, ROBOT, 2005’s CONSTANTINE, and the now-playing coming-of-age drama A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS. But he believes ”you don’t have to be f—ing Christina Ricci and dark to be a good actor,” and after appearing as the acid-dropping comic relief in the ensemble piece BOBBY (Nov. 17), the onetime stand-up comedian plans to switch it up. Next summer, he’ll star in back-to-back blockbusters: the animated SURF’S UP and the highly anticipated live-action TRANSFORMERS.