While best known around these parts as a thespian and day trading prodigy who claimed, many times, to have turned $20,000 into $489,000 in three months via his flip-phone, Shia LaBeouf actually wears many other hats. The hat of a guy who gets into bar brawls and threatens to have people killed. That hat of a guy who has Bloomberg on speed dial. The hat of a guy who knows how to get a job at Goldman Sachs. And, most recently, the hat of a guy who unknowingly rips off comic books on account of being in the zone.
Shia LaBeouf's short film "HowardCantour.com" wasn't exactly a new thing. The LaBeouf-directed short premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Critic's Week sidebar in 2012, and, despite some acclaim, little was made of his portrait of an online film critic. But the film was made available online Monday, and things quickly spiraled out of control when bloggers noticed that LaBeouf's short film bared a striking resemblance to author Daniel Clowes' comic "Justin M. Damiano." Soon after, articles started dissecting the similarities and direct references to Clowes' text without any attribution, and the video disappeared behind a password-protected wall. LaBeouf had remained out of touch for most of the day, and his reps did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment. But then, early Tuesday morning, LaBeouf decided to tweet his thoughts on the kerfuffle, culminating in the mea culpa, "I f****d up."
"Copying isn't particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else's idea to produce something new and different IS creative work," he tweeted. "In my excitement 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 apologize 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."