Shia LaBeouf has apologised for plagiarism, but his apology is a plagiarism from another person as well. The “Transformers” star’s short film “HowardCantour.com” was found to be similar to a comic work by Daniel Clowes after the film was uploaded online on Monday.
“HowardCantour.com” is about an online film critic, played by comedian Jim Gaffigan. It premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was critically acclaimed.
LaBeouf claimed that he has developed the script for the film after being “crushed by critics.”
“As I tried to empathise 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,” he told Short of the Week.
But as it turned out, his script was not developed from empathy, but from “inspiration.” After he uploaded the film on Vimeo, people have noticed its connection with Clowes’ comic “Justin M. Damiano.”
The video has since been taken down.
“Justin M. Damiano” is a 2007 comic, which, like LaBeouf’s film, begins with narration by the main character.
Both Clowes’ and LaBeouf’s main characters say almost exactly the same dialogue at the beginning: “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 similarities of the film and comic continue through the end of the film.
BuzzFeed has posted the video of the film and a page of the comic.
“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,” Clowes told BuzzFeed.
“I actually can’t imagine what was going through his mind.”
LaBeouf has admitted that “HowardCantour.com,” which he only credited as “A Film by Shia LaBeouf,” was improperly lifted from Clowes’ work.
“Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work,” LaBeouf tweeted on Monday night.
“In my excited and naiveté as an amateur filmmaker, I got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation. I’m embarrassed that I failed to credit @danielclowes for his original graphic novella Justin M. Damiano, which served as my inspiration. I was truly moved by his piece of work & I knew that it would make a poignant & relevant short. I apologise to all who assumed I wrote it.
“I deeply regret the manner in which these events have unfolded and want @danielclowes to know that I have a great respect for his work.”
The curious thing about LaBeouf’s plagiarism apology is that it appears to be plagiarised as well. When actor Patton Oswalt called “bulls***” on LaBeouf’s apology, a Twitter user pointed out that even the apology was not originally composed by LaBeouf.
The quote in question was posted four years ago, and 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 revolutionise the ‘stolen’ concept.”
LaBeouf hasn’t commented on his allegedly plagiarised plagiarism apology.
He is reportedly hoping to work out a deal with Clowes to settle the matter.
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