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The evolution of Shia LaBeouf

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Last weekend, when Shia LaBeouf’s Disturbia opened at No. 1 with $22.2 million, the 20-year-old actor didn’t just kick the box office butts of Perfect Stranger‘s Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. He also showed that after nine years in Hollywood, he could finally be on his way to becoming a certified movie star. Further proof? Director Steven Spielberg was so impressed with LaBeouf’s work in Disturbia and July 4’s Transformers (both of which Spielberg exec-produced), he confirmed on April 13 that the Holes star had been cast in Indiana Jones 4, presumably as Harrison Ford’s son. Suddenly, 2007 is shaping up to be the Year of Shia (pronounced SHY-uh). There’s even buzz that the kid could be as big as Tom Hanks someday. ”I’ve heard Steven speak glowingly of Shia,” says Spielberg’s rep Marvin Levy. Of course, ”he’s got to deliver in each movie. But he has a wide range of talent — and appeal.”

That likability, says Disturbia director D.J. Caruso, is all about accessibility. ”Shia’s not your pretty-boy hunky guy [with] perfect hair. He has that young John Cusack thing — quirky and smart.” LaBeouf was unavailable for comment, but when EW spoke to him last fall, he said he hoped to have the freedom in his career to ”be diverse in my choices and do comedy and drama, and big and small [movies]. If I stick to one form, I’m screwed.” For now, he’s free to think big. — Additional reporting by Lindsay Soll

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