The script rarely gets away from LaBeouf. It got away from him in Chicago last November, when a late-night nicotine jones ended in that trespassing charge. ("It was two hotheads," he says, "one completely in the wrong, one who wasn't enjoying his job that night, going at it about minuscule bullshit.") And the glee with which the mainstream news media, itching for a YOUNG ACTOR FLAMES OUT headline, seized on it led to the end of one of his and his father's longtime bonding rituals. "We would drink together and smoke together," LaBeouf says, "and it's just a bad deal. It's not something that is conducive to being a role model no iconic actors that I know of have problems like that. And I don't know how to do it like a gentleman. I don't know how to have one drink."

If it sounds like an actor struggling to stay in character, it may be. "I mean, look, you get arrested, it's out of control. There's nothing 'in control' about the situation," he says. "It's not as though things happen to me and I don't say, never again." But LaBeouf concedes that sticking to the straight-and-narrow is easier said than done. "I can never say never, because of where I'm at in my life and the vices that I've let go of," he says. "But even when I was drinking, I never missed call times, ever."

So now it's no more alcohol just Parliament Lights. And women. LaBeouf deems his female situation "extraordinary," though he refuses to discuss recent rumors tying him to Rihanna and the model Lauren Hastings. "I'm enjoying myself," he says. "But I'm not great with women, dude. I'm not a closer. I can chat all night long, but I'm not the guy who goes, 'Okay, back to my room.' I've never been that way it's not my presence, I just can't do it. But it's not been a priority of mine for a while. That aspect of my life is always going to be there. This" his self-described "meteoric rise" "is not always going to be here." Besides Eagle Eye, LaBeouf has an ensemble picture, New York, I Love You, in the can for release this fall, and he's tied up with shooting Transformers 2 until late October. After that, it's hard to say. Caruso is interested in adapting the comic book Y: The Last Man, but LaBeouf isn't convinced that it's the best move for him: "I can't be the blockbuster dude forever, you know?"