In case you’ve been living under a rock recently with no access to the internet or newspapers, Shia LaBeouf has been up to some unusual antics.
The actor, who most people will know from either Even Stevens or the Transformers franchise has been in the press a lot recently over various accusations of plagiarism. Although, I’m not sure accusations is the correct word, as there is now no doubt about it, as he keeps on plagiarising more and more as time goes on.
I have a theory though, which is probably not true, but I hope it is so am going to explain it anyway.
BuzzFeed originally reported the fact that LaBeouf’s directorial debut, a short film called HowardCantour.com which premiered at the May 2012 Cannes Film Festival, was an almost exact adaptation of Ghost World, a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. Clowes spoke to BuzzFeed to tell them that he had never met with LaBeouf and the first he had heard of the film was when somebody sent him a link to it.
Then, understandably, LaBeouf formally apologised for plagiarising the idea from Clowes, and this is where it starts to get interesting. He posted the following public apology through his Twitter account:
This apology however, was plagiarised from a Yahoo! Answers post from four years ago.
It was then revealed that LaBeouf’s own graphic novels had stolen quotes from Charles Bukowski and French writer Benoit Duteurtre. (Just as a side note, Charles Bukowski was a superb writer. I’d highly recommend any of his work, but Post Office and Women are two of my personal favourites.)
He then went on to apologise again, this time stealing words from Tiger Wood’s apology a few years earlier:
He went on to apologise again a number of times, each time taking the words from somebody else. He even hired a skywriter to put an apology where everyone could see it.
After all of this, LaBeouf decided to inform the world that he was “retiring from all public life”. Since then, he has only been posting the same message each day to his Twitter account, saying: “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE”.
Even though he had supposedly retired from public life and was no longer famous, he still appeared at the Berlin premier of his new film Nymphomaniac, where he wore a paper bag over his head reading the same message: I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE.
Even this act though, appeared oddly similar to a Billboard front cover featuring singer Sia wearing a paper bag explaining that she didn’t want to be famous anymore.
Finally, at a press conference for Nymphomaniac, LaBeouf only answered one question, and stole the answer from an apology made by Eric Cantona before storming out: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”
Now for my theory…
This could just be a case of another Hollywood A-lister losing the plot and being caught in a downward spiral. Plenty have trod this path before him.
Another possible reason could be that since his first piece of plagiarism was discovered, he has stopped caring and will just continue to plagiarise over and over again.
He may come out and claim this was all done in the name of art, and that he was drawing attention to the amount of plagiarism in the media today.
My theory is slightly more out there, but if it is true it could be the greatest piece of trolling I have seen in a long time.
Cast your mind back to 2010, when Joaquin Phoenix decided to leave his acting career behind to follow a new path, by becoming a hip hop star. The journey was documented in I’m Still Here, a documentary directed by Casey Affleck. Now this had everyone going for quite some time, and Phoenix executed this to perfection, gaining a few pounds, growing an impressive beard and playing the role of the “is he losing the plot” actor.
It was eventually revealed that the entire thing was a hoax.
What if LaBeouf is following a similar path? What if one day in the near future he suddenly holds a new press release, comes running out and is all like “Hey guys! I had you all going with that plagiarism stuff didn’t I? It was all a hoax!” And before anyone has a chance to protest, out come all the people who he has plagiarised and they’re all like “Haha suckers! We were in on it all along.” And then out of the blue “Never Gonna Give You Up” starts playing and we suddenly realise we’ve all played host to the greatest combined troll and Rick Roll of all time?
Now I understand that this sounds ridiculous, and is probably the farthest thing from the truth. But just imagine it for a moment. Just think how the world’s collective mind’s would be blown.
I’m holding out hope for this to come true. Come on Shia, don’t let me down.
If you have a different theory, please feel free to share it with me.
P.S. I realise that this is probably my longest post to date, so if you made it to the end, I salute you.