What if I told you that Shia LaBoeuf - yes, the "Transformers" star - had actually written and directed a smart, sensitive short film? Kind of changes the way you see the loud, erratic star, doesn't it? Just goes to show that you shouldn't judge what's in someone's heart by their public persona. OK, now what if I told you that pretty much the entire film is a ripoff of an indie graphic novel? Aaand the world we know snaps back into place.
LaBoeuf's short film, "HowardCantour.com," about a film critic, premiered at last year's Sundance Film Festival to critical praise. Yesterday it was released online, where fans immediately noticed its similarities to "Justin M. Damiano," a comic by indie artist Daniel Clowes. And not just small, coincidental similarities, either. "Shia LaBeouf's new short film,HowardCantour.com, is a complete rip off of Daniel Clowes's comic 'Justin M. Damiano.' Every-word from the 4 page comic created by Clowes in 2006 is used in the script for LaBeouf's directional debut,"Jacquelene Cohen, director of publicity & promotions for Fantagraphics Books, told Boing Boing.
Once accusations began to fly LaBoeuf's way, the film was made password-only. Shia has since apologized (ish) on his Twitter account.
Of course, Shia didn't just fail to "give credit." He also failed to ask permission and pay royalties. It does sound like his contrition is genuine, though: His final tweet of the day reads simply "I f***ed up."
By the way, Buzzfeed still has the entire short film up, if you want to compare it to Clowes's work.