Shia LaBeouf, ‘Eagle Eye’ Co-Stars Remind Us That We’re All Being Watched

Rosario Dawson and Billy Bob Thornton agree that the movie's plot isn't too far-fetched.

Nearly every article about prominently mentions the fact that the original idea for the project was developed by Steven Spielberg. And as a result, readers probably assume the movie is going to be something like, say, or even — a paranoid, dystopian flick from cinema’s preeminent futurist.

But the central conceit of “Eagle Eye,” that someone, somewhere is watching you, listening to you and tracking your every movement, isn’t a far-flung flight of fancy — it’s a reality, castmembers told MTV News.

And it’s about time to start getting really afraid.

“There was a CIA agent who was working on the movie with us, and [he] told me all this insane stuff, [like that] one in five phone calls is recorded and documented,” star recalled. “To that I was laughing. And then he said, ‘No, really,’ and proceeded to play for me a phone call I had made two years prior to signing on to the film. It’s pretty terrifying.

“This isn’t a sci-fi fantasy thing. This is a very real world we made this movie in,” he added. “The film, and the idea behind it, is all very tangible.”

(Shia LaBeouf talks about his celebrity “life in a fishbowl” in the Movies Blog.)

In the movie, LaBeouf’s character finds himself the target of a federal manhunt when he’s framed for the crime of treason. His only help is an ever-present voice at the other end of a telephone that gives him instructions and seems to control every electronic device in the country.

While part of the fun of the movie is finding out who or what the voice is, it’s clear very early on that someone or something has hacked into the country’s own surveillance grid, making it impossible for Shia’s character to escape.

It’s the stuff of nightmares. The irony is that each and every one of us is signing up for it willingly, observed , who plays a special agent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigation.

“We’ve allowed this to happen. We want people to hit our blogs all the time and see our MySpace. Suddenly there’s a line that’s crossed, and how do you uncross it?” she asked rhetorically, knowing it’s nearly impossible to go off the grid these days. “You’re going to walk out of here really going, ‘Wow, I hadn’t really though about Big Brother in that way.’”

She means that we — the ordinary citizens who bank online, shop online, text, Twitter, blog and update our Facebook status three times a day — have become Big Brother. (Even a vice-presidential candidate isn’t immune.) Everything about us is has been converted to bits and bytes of information.

“Everybody’s on the Internet, and everyone’s texting and calling each other on cell phones and wearing those things in their ears,” said co-star , an FBI agent in the movie. “I think everyone in town is in the CIA now!”

The real problem is if that power ever falls into the wrong hands.

“ADT security boxes and microphones can be activated and used for any number of reasons,” LaBeouf said. “OnStar in your car — somebody in Arizona could shut off your car if you’re in Washington with the click of a button. There’s a lot of power in it, and it’s a very real thing.”

“It’s like fire,” (who plays the secretary of defense) echoed. “It’s our friend; it’s a great tool — but you got to respect it.”

But we don’t respect it now and never have, Thornton insisted, and it’s already too late to change. “Well, we could, but we don’t have any rabble-rousers any more, so it’s hard to. People are too comfortable. People are very lazy,” he sighed. “And they don’t really want to change anything.”

“Eagle Eye” opens Friday.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Eagle Eye.”

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