I first met the boy wonder on the set of a small passion project called, um, Transformers. Since then, I've kept up a friendship with the 21-year-old, two-time Vanity Fair cover boy and Steven Spielberg-anointed golden child Shia LaBeouf.

So, this week I was lucky enough to hang on the set of this summer's political thriller Eagle Eye (directed by the same guy who did Disturbia, D.J. Caruso), with Shia and costar/totally-cool-chick Michelle Monaghan.

Here's what I learned at the Santa Anita mall, near Pasadena, California:

Shia Has Kept His Head: Despite having found enormous sucWonder boy LaBeouf sneaks us behind the scenes of summer flick Eagle Eyecess since we first met, the Indiana Jones star is still the same old Shia: He's on a first-name basis with the crew, he engages with the hundreds of extras, and he even left the set before a take to salute his favorite film critic. (Check the photo!)

He's into Something Big Here: The story of Eagle Eye centers around mistaken identity, and Shia's and Michelle's characters are caught up in political and military hijinx that have them on the run. The film features an all-star cast, too, with everybody from Michael Chiklis to Rosario Dawson to Billy Bob Thornton.

Hey, What's in That Briefcase? In every take I saw, Shia was carrying a silver briefcase and talking on a pay phone. Like Cloverfield, which benefited big-time from the secrecy that surrounded it, Eagle Eye has some unknowns hanging over the story. The cast, of course, couldn't get too much into it—on camera, at least!

Eagle Eye is scheduled to open Aug. 8.

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