Remember the short film that Shia LaBeouf premiered yesterday on his website HowardCantour.com? Apparently, a nod to the source material was missing in the credits.
LaBeouf, who has had a few problems with crediting in the past, took his latest project directly from a comic written by author/illustrator Daniel Clowes titled Justin M. Damiano. According to the author and fans, LaBeouf’s film is a blatant copy. Much of the dialogue is word for word from the comic, and many of the visuals are identical to those in the comics.
The story centers around an online film critic Howard Cantour (Jim Gaffigan), who finds himself in the middle of several existential dilemmas. LaBeouf recently told Short of the Week that the story formed naturally through his experiences in dealing with critics in his own life. ”I know something about the gulf between critical acclaim and blockbuster business. I have been crushed by critics (especially during my Transformers run), and in trying to come to terms with my feelings about critics,” LaBeouf said. “I needed to understand them. As I tried to empathize with the sort of man who might earn a living taking potshots at me and the people I’ve worked with, a small script developed.”
After getting caught, LaBeouf took to Twitter to clear the air and apologize for not crediting Clowe or asking his permission to “adapt” his work. Here’s where it gets even weirder. Apparently, the first apology he issued was plagiarized from a four-year old Yahoo! Answers board.
Here is the original.
LaBeouf followed with a series of subsequent tweets, each one becoming a little more candid and apologetic until the last, which simply read: “I fucked up.”
Clowes told Buzzfeed today that he wasn’t aware of the film and was “shocked” to see his story plagiarized word for word and shot by shot. “The first I ever heard of the film was this morning when someone sent me a link. I’ve never spoken to or met Mr. LaBeouf,” Clowes said. “I’ve never even seen one of his films that I can recall — and I was shocked, to say the least, when I saw that he took the script and even many of the visuals from a very personal story I did six or seven years ago and passed it off as his own work. I actually can’t imagine what was going through his mind.”
The video has since been pulled, but you can watch it here via Buzzfeed.