Shia LaBeouf facing fierce backlash over bizarre plagiarism incident

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Hollywood actor Shia LaBeouf has been branded a “weasel” and is facing a potential lawsuit, after reportedly plagiarising a graphic novel.

The Transformers star’s short film HowardCantour.com is a near word-for-word, uncredited adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ 2007 comic Justin M. Damiano - and the revelation has landed him in deep trouble.

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[Photo: Getty]

LaBeouf has issued a series of apologetic statements via Twitter, but in an increasingly surreal series of events, it appears his initial apology was itself copied from elsewhere. Bizarre, but true.

Popular website BuzzFeed, which initially brought the similarities between the film and graphic novel to light, is now reporting that Clowes’ editor is pursuing his legal options.

HowardCantour.com, which stars Jim Gaffigan as an online film critic, premiered at Cannes last year and recently debuted online. It has since been taken down.

LaBeouf’s film apparently lifts whole chunks of dialogue and even visual frames from Clowes’ work.

Speaking to Wired, the writer’s publisher Eric Reynolds branded LaBeouf a “weasel”, saying:

“As much as the plot sounded like the Justin M. Damiano, I presumed that LaBeouf would be smart enough to change everything just enough to make it his own thing and shield himself from any legal liability.

“Which is why, when I actually started watching it, I almost spit out my coffee when I realized he lifted the script, word for word.”

In a statement to Buzzfeed, Clowes himself added:

“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 many of the visuals from a very personal story and passed it off as his own work.

“I actually can’t imagine what was going through his mind.”

The 27-year-old actor made an impression as a child star before shooting to global fame with roles in Disturbia, Indiana Jones 4 and the Transformers series. He will next be seen in Lars Von Trier’s controversial film Nymphomaniac, and alongside Brad Pitt in World War Two drama Fury.

HowardCantour.com is his third short film as director. And given the current storm brewing over all of this, possibly his last.

Mark Butler

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Mark is the content manager for WOW247 in Leeds. When he isn't waxing lyrical about Ben Wheatley and Caravan Palace, he's landing news, assembling guides and penning features.

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