It looks like Shia LaBeouf is one step closer to becoming the next Tom Cruise, but hopefully without all that pesky Scientology/alien baby baggage. The young star has just signed on to Paramount’s upcoming adaptation of John Grisham’s latest novel, The Associate, which hits stores just in time for the last weekend in January. (Note to Doubleday: release John Grisham books for the holidays, so people will buy them as gifts.) Anyway! The Associate follows a young Yale Law School graduate (to be played by Mr. LaBeouf) who gets blackmailed by some shady characters into giving away case secrets at the law firm where he’s an associate (hence the title). If this sounds strikingly familiar, it’s because we’re pretty sure that is the same description for The Firm.
While Mr. LaBeouf gets extreme hate from the fanboy community for his roles in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Transformers, we actually kinda love him and believe he’s poised to be the next big box office superstar. He combines the manic energy of a young Tom Cruise with the slacker everyman charm of a young Tom Hanks. How many actors can you say that about? Sure, he swung on vines with a bunch of CGI monkeys, and, had a sword fight while straddling two speeding cars in Indiana Jones, but he was the one actor who seemed actually excited to be in the sequel at all. That has to count for something!
As for the film adaptation of The Associate, it’s still in its infancy; there is no director or screenwriter attached. However, after the success that Paramount had with Mr. LaBeouf’s most recent hit, the similarly sounding Eagle Eye, we wouldn’t be surprised if the director of that film, D.J. Caruso, came on board for this project. After all, he and Mr. LaBeouf have a great working relationship, having already collaborated on Disturbia and Eagle Eye. The two are rapidly turning into the PG-13 version of Brad Pitt and David Fincher. We can’t wait to see their take on Fight Club!