By EW Staff
Updated December 05, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Shia LeBeouf: Gregg Segal/Corbis Outline

Shia LaBeouf ranks among 2003’s top breakouts

If Garry Shandling had a sex change and mated with Dustin Hoffman, their offspring might look — and act — something like this curly-haired 17-year-old. Anyway, LaBeouf seems to have somebody’s acting genes. After three seasons as Louis on Disney Channel’s ”Even Stevens” (he won a 2003 Daytime Emmy), LaBeouf began racking up high-profile movie roles this year: Disney’s hit ”Holes” in April, followed by ”Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and ”Dumb and Dumberer” in June. With ”Even Stevens,” ”everyone just thought I was a big goofball…. ‘Holes’ changed that,” says LaBeouf. ”When your movie makes almost $70 million, it’s a different ball game.” LaBeouf even survived ”The Battle of Shaker Heights” — the little movie that no one saw, even though millions watched it being made, courtesy of HBO’s ”Project Greenlight.” Unlike some of ”Greenlight”’s participants, he garnered good reviews for both his on- and offscreen performances. ”’Greenlight’ was challenging. I had to stretch as an actor, and be diplomatic. There were a lot of politics,” he says…diplomatically. Now that LaBeouf has mastered such Hollywood-player palaver, he’s ready for his next films: ”I, Robot” with Will Smith and ”Constantine” with Keanu Reeves. ”This year has been like a birthday every day,” says LaBeouf. Happy birthday, kid!