TOP

Shia LaBeouf accused of plagiarizing Daniel Clowes [Updated]

by  in Movie News Comment

UPDATE 12/17/13 10:45 AM: CBR News reached HowardCantour.com star Jim Gaffigan’s management for comment: “Jim was an actor for hire on this project and had no creative input. We were all as surprised by this news as everybody else.”


UPDATE 11:05 PM: Shia LaBeouf has responded to reports via Twitter. Click here to read LeBouf’s response.


 


Actor and occasional cartoonist Shia LaBeouf has released online a short film titled HowardCantour.com, which stars comedian Jim Gaffigan as a defensive Internet film critic. Nothing wrong with that, except, as BuzzFeed noticed, the film bears a striking resemblance to Justin M. Damiano, a 2007 comic by Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes.

As the website points out, the film and the comic open with the same narration: “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.”

It goes on from there. According to BuzzFeed and Wired, the film copies or approximates Clowes’ dialogue throughout, although LeBeouf – who, by the way, is on record as being a fan of Clowes’ work – has been quoted as saying the film came about “organically.”

Asked for comment, Clowes told BuzzFeed he was “shocked, to say the least,” and that he couldn’t “imagine what was going through his mind.” For his part, LeBeouf has remained silent, although the film is now password-protected; it still can be viewed on BuzzFeed.

The film has been making the festival rounds for months, even screening for in May 2012 at Cannes, with at least one critic thinking it was a legitimate adaptation (hat tip to Joe McCulloch).

For what it’s worth, this apparently isn’t the first time LaBeouf has been accused of plagarism.


Updated 11:08 PM PDT: LaBeouf has taken to Twitter this evening, offering an explanation and an apology to Daniel Clowes. The full tweets follow: