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    With Shia Gone, Who's Going to Kick Butt in the Next Transformers?

    Rosie Huntington-Whitley, Shia LaBeouf, Transformers, Dark of the Moon, Jason Stratham Paramount Pictures, Sara De Boer/startraksphoto.com

    Next time the Transformers franchise invades the multiplexes, Shia LaBeouf won't be along for the ride.

    But if Rosie Huntington-Whiteley can stand the criticism and returns for the fourth film, rumor has it she won't lack for a familiar face on set, even if director Michael Bay decides to pass, as well.

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    Per Variety, Paramount (and toy maker Hasbro, natch) is mulling the possibility of shooting a fourth and fifth Transformers film back-to-back to save on production costs—and ideally, make another couple billion dollars even faster.

    And British beefcake Jason Statham, Huntington-Whiteley's real-life beau, is the name that keeps coming up as a new possible leading man. No formal offer has been extended to the Transporter star yet, but that would certainly be taking the franchise in a new, accented direction.

    LaBeouf, who apparently prefers his action on the streets of Vancouver these days, told reporters before Dark of the Moon came out and grossed $1.19 billion that the third Transformers film would be his last.

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    "I've been running for a team of people for a long time, and I don't take any of it back," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I've learned a great deal about a certain type of filmmaking. But I have ambitions toward another type of filmmaking that I haven't been allowed to engage in yet."

    LaBeouf went on to engage in the Prohibition-era indie drama The Wettest County in the World. He's shooting the Robert Redford-directed thriller The Company You Keep and is attached to an indie romantic comedy titled A Giant.

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