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Failed comic book creator Shia LaBeouf, who we understand was in some movies once, has just released a short film titled HowardCantour.com. The film, directed by LaBeouf, follows the emotional trials and tribulations of an online film critic as he struggles with the frustrations of his chosen profession, including the emotional conflict of hero-worship and interacting with other bloggers, among other annoyances. Starring Jim Gaffigan as Howard Cantour, the film is seemingly and adaptation of Justin M. Damiano, a short story by cartoonist Daniel Clowes.Clowes, the creator of the graphic novel Ghost World, has seen his work adapted to the screen in the past. The difference this time? It would appear that LaBeouf, in no way, shape or form, had permission from Clowes to adapt his work, nor does he credit him anywhere in the film. In fact, the two have never even spoken.
The film, which was posted online earlier today but has since been removed, shares several similarities with Clowes’ short story, with lines that are lifted directly from the comic. Yet in an interview with the website Short of the Week, LaBeouf, who has been accused of plagiarism in the past, claims to have come up with the concept for the film organically, having been inspired by negative reviews he received for his lackluster comics work, as well as the films he has reportedly appeared in:“I know something about the gulf between critical acclaim and blockbuster business. I have been crushed by critics (especially during my Transformers run), and in trying to come to terms with my feelings about critics, I needed to understand them. As I tried to empathize 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.”