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[Gossip] Shia LaBeouf Accused Of Plagiarizing For His New Short Film
Posted by Joseph Lee on 12.17.2013

Buzzfeed reports that not long after Shia LaBeouf posted his new short film HowardCantour.com yesterday (which starred Jim Gaffigan as an online film critic named Howard Cantour), he was accused of plagiarizing Daniel Clowes' 2007 comic Justin M. Damiano. Clowes is not given credit in either the credits or promotion of the film. Eric Reynolds, editor of Clowes' comics and associate producer at Fantagraphics, said the film was "shameless theft".

Clowes said: "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. 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 film and comic both begin with narration from the main character who said: "A critic is a warrior, and each of us on the battlefield have the means to glorify or demolish (whether a film, a career, or an entire philosophy) by influencing perception in ways that if heartfelt and truthful, can have far-reaching repercussions."

The next scene features the critic (in both versions) having a conversation with a young, blonde freelance critic. They talk about a junket that she will go to even though there is a lack of actors. She then said of the filmmaker they're discussing: "He so perfectly gets how we're really all like these aliens who can never have any meaningful contact with each other because we're all so caught up in our own little self-made realities, you know?"

The dialogue in the comic is almost exactly same. The two share many other similarities including direct quotes. LaBeouf is a Clowes fan but has said in interviews he came up with the script on his own.

He told Short of the Week: "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, 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."

LaBeouf has been accused of this before, as he took quotes from an Esquire article and pasted them into an email he sent Alec Baldwin that he leaked online.

Clowes is best known for his comics like Wilson and Ghost World (which was made into a 2001 film). He also wrote the script for the adaptation of his work Art School Confidential.

The film is now password protected. LaBeouf tweeted an apology last last night. However, it appears as though he may have copied that too. The first part of his apology is very similar to an entry on Yahoo! Answers from four years ago, which reads: "Merely copying isn't particularly creative work, though it's useful as training and practice. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work, and it may even revolutionalize [sic] the ‘stolen' concept."

LaBeouf wrote: "Copying isn't particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work."

Here's the entire apology:


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