'Transformers' star looks head to 'Crystal' future

How’s this for a career arc — “Even Stevens” to “Holes,” “I, Robot,” “Disturbia” and “Transformers.” And now he’s shooting a little movie called “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” And LaBeouf just turned 21 in June.

But the young star’s future hasn’t always looked so bright. By his own admission, the L.A. native had a rough childhood with a heroin-addicted father, turning to acting as a way out of his family’s hand-to-mouth existence. After meeting child star Shawn Toovey of CBS’ “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” at a party, LaBeouf showed up at the Beverly Hecht Agency and charmed his way into representation.

After some commercial work, his first break was landing the lead in Disney’s “Even Stevens,” and he then parlayed that teen success into a series of film performances (“Dumb and Dumberer,” “The Battle of Shaker Heights,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”) that quickly revealed his natural talent and impressive range.

But it was this past summer that transformed his career. After “Disturbia’s” exec producer Steven Spielberg saw LaBeouf’s audition tape, he read him for a lead in Michael Bay’s “Transformers” and then tapped him to play Harrison Ford’s young sidekick in the eagerly anticipated “Indiana Jones” sequel. With his clean-cut image and versatility, he’s now being touted as “the next Tom Hanks.”

Recent breakthrough: One might argue the robots were the draw on “Transformers,” but there’s no denying that LaBeouf helped propel “Disturbia” to its $80 million domestic gross.

What’s next: Starring opposite Harrison Ford in “Indiana Jones 4.”

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