In case you've been living in a cave I'll give you the gist of the story. Actor Shia LaBeouf made a short film about film critics and put it out online. In the time it took to watch it people were saying it was a rip-off of something done by cartoonist Daniel Clowes. LaBeouf apologized was accused of ripping off his apology and the pit of embarrassment got just a little bit deeper for him.
To be honest, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often.
We live in the age of the actor being presented to us, the audience, as the culture's premiere creative force. If you go by just the mainstream media's coverage of most cultural issues, you might believe that actors are responsible for just about everything you see on stage and screen.
It's only a matter of time before the actors started believing it too.
Remember a few years ago master thespian Jessica Alba said that she doesn't really follow what's in the script unless it's a work of pure genius, actors just make up their own dialogue.
That was total horse-hockey, but she believes it, because she's a celebrity, and no one really contradicts a celebrity to their face, and if you did, it still doesn't count because they only listen to other celebrities.
Which puts a whole new spin on Hollywood's obsession with remakes.
Maybe the studios aren't doing them because they're remakes, maybe Hollywood's stars are pitching them old movies as their own original ideas?
That's scarily plausible.
Anyhoo… Some actors are actually creative people. They write, they direct, they paint, they do music, and they do many other things without plagiarism.
Other actors though, are a different story.
Some actors are pretty much incapable of doing anything that isn't spoon fed to them by writers, directors, producers, and the members of their agency/managment /publicity machine. They exist solely as interpreters, a wonderful endeavour in itself if you're good at it, but it's not the same as creating something literally from nothing.
However, the combo of method acting mythology and the almost non-stop media adoration has convinced legions of interpreters that they are creators when they're not.
Some try their hands at creating, and when their magnum opii get laughed at they learn their lesson, and get back to being interpreters.
Some try, get laughed at, and don't learn their lesson.
And some, like Shia, commit plagiarism, and it is believable that it could be unintentional, and I'm assuming that only the intervention of most actor's management machine keeps such things from happening almost daily.
I guess you could say that I pity Mr. LaBeouf.
I'll still pick on him though, because it's a lot of fun.